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At the same time a thick voice said softly, urgently, 
just behind his right ear: 

"This is a gun, Monsieur". It is silent. It can blow 
the base of your spine off without a sound. With- 
draw your bet before I count to ten." 


Bond turned his head. There he was, leaning for- 
ward, smiling broadly under his black moustache as 
if he were wishing Bond luck. 


Bond looked across. Le Chiffre was watching him. 
He was waiting, waiting for Bond's hand to gesture 
to the croupier, or else for Bond suddenly to slump 
backward in his chair... 

James Bond books published by Berkley Ian Fleming 

THUNDERBALL , John Gardner 






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Macmillan edition published 1953 
Jove edition / July 1980 
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3 NUMBER 007 18 












14 'LA VIE EN ROSE?* 93 



17 'MY DEAR BOY' 110 




21 VESPER 139 



24 'FRUIT DEFENDU' ; 159 

25 'BLACK-PATCH' 164 





The Sedret Agent 

The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are 
nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul- 
erosion produced by high gambling— a compost of 
greed and fear and nervous tension — becomes unbear- 
able, and the senses awake and revolt from it. 

James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He 
always knew when his body or his mind had had 
enough, and he always acted on the knowledge. This 
helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness 
that breeds mistakes. 

He shifted himself unobtrusively away from the 
roulette he had been playing and went to stand for a 
moment at the brass rail which surrounded breast-high 
the top table in the salle privee. 

Le Chiffre was : still playing and still, apparently, 
winning. There was an untidy pile of flecked hundred- 
mille plaques in front of him. In the shadow of his thick 
left arm there nestled a discreet stack of the big yellow 
ones worth half a million francs each. 




Bond -watched the curious, impressive profile for a 
time, and then he shrugged his shoulders to lighten his 
thoughts and moved away. 

The barrier surrounding the caisse comes as high as 
your chin, and the caissier, who is generally nothing 
more than a minor bank clerk, sits on a stool and dips 
into his piles of notes and plaques. These are ranged on 
shelves. They are on a level, behind the protecting 
barrier* with your groin. The caissier has a cosh and a 
gun to protect him, and to heave over the barrier and 
steal some notes and then vault back and get out of the 
Casino through the passages and doors would be im- 
possible. And the caissiers generally work in pairs. 

Bond reflected on the problem as he collected the 
sheaf of hundred-thousand and then the sheaves of ten- 
thousand-franc notes. With another part of his mind, he 
had a vision of tomorrow's regular morning meeting of 
the Casino committee. 

'Monsieur Le Chiffre made two million. He played 
his usual game. Miss Fairchild made a million an hour 
and then left. She executed\hree bancos of Monsieur Le 
Chiffre within an hour and then left. She played with 
coolness. Monsieur le Vicomte de Villorin made one 
million two at roulette. He was playing the maximum on 
the first and last dozens. He was lucky. Then the 
Englishman, Mister Bond, increased his winnings to 
exactly three million over the two days. He was playing 
a progressive system on red at table five. Duclos, the 
chef de partie, has the details. It seems that he is per- 
severing and pays in maximums. He has luck. His 
nerves seem good. On the soiree, the chemin-de-fer won 
x, the baccarat won.y and the roulette won z. The boule, 
which was again badly frequented, still makes its ex- 

'Merci, Monsieur Xavier. ' 

'Merci, Monsieur le President.' 

Or something like that, thought Bond as he pushed 



his way through the swing doors of the salle privee and 
nodded to the bored man in evening clothes whose job it 
is to bar your entry and your exit and the electric foot- 
switch which can lock the door at any hint of trouble. 

And the Casino committee 'would balance its books 
and break up to its homes or cafSs for lunch. 

As for robbing the caisse, in which Bond himself was 
not personally concerned, but only interested, he- re- 
flected that it would take ten good men, that they would 
certainly have to kill one or two employees, and that 
anyway you probably couldn't find ten non-squeal 
killers in France, or in any other country for the matter 
of that. 

As he gave a thousand francs to the 'vestiaire' and 
walked down the steps of the Casino, Bond made up his 
mind that Le Chiffre would in no circumstances try to 
rob the caisse; and he put the contingency out of his 
mind. Instead he explored his present physical sen- 
sations. He felt the dry, uncomfortable gravel under his 
evening shoes, the bad ( harsh taste in his mouth, and the 
slight sweat under his arms. He could feel his eyes filling 
their sockets. The front of his face, his nose and an- 
trum, were congested. He breathed the sweet night air 
deeply and focused his senses and his wits. He wanted to 
know if anyone had searched his room since he had left 
it before dinner. 

. He walked across the broad boulevard and through 
the gardens to the Hotel Splendide. He smiled at the 
concierge who gave him his key— No. 45 on the first 
floor — and took the cable. 
It was from Jamaica and read: 





This meant that ten million francs was on the way to 
him. It was the reply to a request Bond had sent that af- 
ternoon through Paris to his headquarters in London 
asking for more funds. Paris had spoken to London 
where Clements, the head of Bond's department, had 
spoken to M. who had smiled wryly and told 'The 
Broker' to fix it with the Treasury. 

Bond had once worked in Jamaica, and his cover on 
the Royale assignment was that of a very rich client of 
Messrs. Caffery, the principal import and export firm 
of Jamaica. So he was being controlled through 
Jamaica, through a taciturn man who was head of the 
picture desk on the Daily Gleaner, the famous 
newspaper of the Caribbean. 

This man on the Gleaner, whose name was.Fawcett, 
had been bookkeeper for one of the leading turtle- 
fisheries on the Cayman Islands. One of the men from 
the Caymans who had volunteered on the outbreak of 
war, he had ended up as a Paymaster's clerk in a small 
naval intelligence organization in Malta. At the end of 
the war, when, with a heavy heart, he was about to 
return to the Caymans, he was spotted by the section of 
the Secret Service concerned with the Caribbean. He 
was strenuously trained in photography and in some 
other arts and, with the quiet connivance of an in- 
fluential man in Jamaica, found his way to the picture 
desk of the Gleaner. 

In the intervals between sifting photographs sub- 
mitted by the great agencies— Keystone, Wide World, 
Universal, I.N.P., and Reuter-Photo — he would get 
peremptory instructions by telephone from a man he 
had never met to carry out certain simple operations 
requiring nothing but absolute discretion, speed, and 



accuracy. For these occasional services he received 
twenty pounds a month paid into his account with the 
Royal Bank of Canada by a fictitious relative in 

Fawcett's present assignment was to relay im- 
mediately to Bond, full rates, the text of messages which 
he received at home by telephone from his anonymous 
contact. He had been told by this contact that nothing 
he would be asked to send would arouse the suspicion of 
the Jamaican post office. So he was not surprised to 
find himself suddenly appointed string correspondent 
for the 'Maritime Press and Photo Agency,' with press- 
collect facilities to France and England, on a further 
monthly retainer of ten pounds. 

He felt secure and, encouraged, had visions of a 
B.E.M. and made the first payment on a Morris Minor. 
He also bought a green eyeshade which he had long 
coveted, and which helped him to impose his personality 
on the picture desk. , 

Some of this background to his cable passed through 
Bond's mind. He was used to oblique control and rather 
liked it. He felt it featherbedded him a little, allowed 
him to give or take an hour or. two in his com- 
munications with M. He knew that this was probably a 
fallacy, that probably there was another member of the 
Service at Royale-les-Eaux who was reporting in- 
dependently, but it did give the illusion that he wasn't 
only 150 miles across the Channel from that deadly of- 
fice building near Regent's Park, being watched and 
judged by those few cold brains that made the whole 
show work. Just as Fawcett, the Cayman Islander in 
Kingston, knew that if he bought that Morris Minor 
outright instead of signing the hire-purchase agreement, 
someone in London would probably know and want to 
know where the money had come from. 

Bond read the cable twice. He tore a telegraph form 
off the; pad on the desk (why give them carbon copies?) 
and wrote his reply in capital letters: 





He handed this to the concierge and put the cable 
signed 'Dasilva' in his pocket. The employers (if any) of 
the concierge could bribe a copy out of the local post of- 
fice, if the concierge hadn't already steamed the en- 
velope open or read the cable upside down in Bond's 

He took his key and said good night and turned to the 
stairs, shaking his head at the liftman. Bond knew what 
an obliging danger-signal a lift could be. He didn't ex- 
pect anyone to be moving on the first floor, but he 
preferred to be prudent. 

Walking quietly up on the balls of his feet, he re- 
gretted the hubris of his reply to M. via Jamaica. As a 
gambler he knew it was a mistake to rely on too small a 
capital. Anyway, M. probably wouldn't let him have 
any more. He shrugged his shoulders and turned off the 
stairs into the corridor and walked softly to the door of 
his room. 

Bond knew exactly where the switch was, and it was 
with one flow of motion that he stood on the threshold 
with the door full open, the light on and a gun in his 
hand. The safe, empty room sneered at him. He ignored 
the half-open door of the bathroom and, after locking 
himself in, he turned up the bed-light and the mirror- 
light and threw his gun on the settee beside the window. 
Then he bent down and inspected one of his own black 
hairs which still lay undisturbed where he had left it 
before dinner, wedged into the drawer of the writing- 

Next he examined a faint trace of talcum powder on 
the inner rim of the porcelain handle of the clothes cup- 
board. It appeared immaculate. He went into the 
bathroom, lifted the cover of the lavatory cistern and 



verified the level of the water against a small scratch on 
the copper ball-cock. 

Doing alL this, inspecting these minute burglar- 
alarms, did not make him feel foolish or self-conscious. 
He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact 
attention to the detail of his profession. Routine 
precautions were to him no more unreasonable than 
they would be to a deep-sea diver or a test pilot, or to 
any man earning danger-money. 

Satisfied that his room had not been searched while 
he was at the Casino, Bond undressed and took a cold 
shower. Then he lit his seventieth cigarette of the day 
and sat down at the writing-table with the thick wad of 
his stake money and winnings beside him and entered 
some figures in a small notebook. Over the two days' 
play, he was up exactly three million francs. In London 
he had been issued with ten million, and he had asked 
London for a further ten. With this on its way to the 
local branch of the Credit Lyonnais, his working capital 
amounted to twenty-three million francs, or some 
twenty-three thousand pounds. 

For a few moments Bond sat motionless, gazing out 
of the "window across the dark sea; then he shoved the 
bundle of banknotes under the pillow of the ornate 
single bed, cleaned his teeth, turned out the lights and 
climbed with relief between the harsh French sheets. For 
ten minutes he lay on his left side reflecting on the 
events of the day. Then he turned over and focused his 
mind towards the tunnel of sleep. 

His last action was to slip his right hand under the 
pillow until it rested under the butt of the .38 Colt 
Police Positive with the sawn barrel. Then he slept, and 
. with the warmth and humour of his eyes extinguished 
his features relapsed into a taciturn mask, ironical, 
brutal, and cold. 


Dossier for M. 

Two weeks before, this memorandum had gone 
from Station S. of the Secret Service to M., who was 
then and is today head of this adjunct to the British 
defence ministries: 

To: M. 

From: Head of S. 

Subject: A project for the destruction of Monsieur 
Le Chiffre (alias 'The Number,' 'Herr Hum- 
mer,' 'Herr Ziffer,' etc.), one of the Opposi- 
tion's chief agents in France and undercover 
Paymaster of the 'Syndicat des Ouvriers 
d' Alsace,' the communist-controlled trade 
union in the heavy and transport industries of 
Alsace and, as we know, an important fifth col- 
umn in the event of war with Redland. 

Documentation: Head of Archives' biography of 
Le Chiffre is attached at Appendix A. Also, Ap- 
pendix B, a note onSMERSH. 



• • • 

We have been feeling for some time that Le 
Chiffre is getting into deep water. In nearly all 
respects he is an admirable agent of the U.S.S.R.j 
but his gross physical habits and predilections are 
an Achilles heel of which we have been able to 
take advantage from time to time, and one of his 
mistresses is a Eurasian (No. 1860) controlled by 
Station F., who has recently been able to obtain 
some insight into his private affairs. 

Briefly, it seems that Le Chiffre is on the brink 
of a financial crisis. Certain straws in the wind 
were noticed by 1860 — some discreet sales of 
jewellery, the disposal of a villa at Antibes, and a 
general tendency to check the loose spending 
which had always been a feature of his way of life. 
Further inquiries were made with the help of our 
friends of the Deuxieme Bureau (with whom we 
have been working jointly on this case) and a 
curious story has come to light. 

In January 1946 Le Chiffre bought control of a 
chain of brothels, known as the 'Cordon Jaune,' 
operating in Normandy and Brittany. He was 
foolish enough to employ for this purpose some 
fifty million francs of the moneys entrusted to him 
by Leningrad Section III for the financing of 
S.O.D.A., the trade union mentioned above. 

Normally the Cordon Jaune would have proved 
a most excellent investment; and it is possible that 
Le Chiffre was motivated more by a desire to in- 
crease his union funds than by the hope of lining 
his own pocket by speculating with his employers' 
money. However that may be, it is clear that he 
could have found many investments more savoury 
than prostitution, if he had not been tempted by 
the by-product of unlimited women for his per- 
sonal use. 

Fate rebuked him with terrifying swiftness. 



Barely three months later, on the 13th April, 
there was passed in France Law No. 46685 entitled 
Loi Tendant a la Fermeture des Maisons de 
Tolerance et au Renforcement de la Lutte cohtre le 
Proxenitisme. \ 

(When M. came to this sentence he grunted and 
pressed a switch on the intercom. 
'Head of S?' 

'What the hell does this word mean? ' He spelt it out. 
'Pimping, sir. 5 

'This is not the Berlitz School of Languages, Head of 
S. If you want to show off your knowledge of foreign 
jawbreakers, be good enough to provide a crib. Better 
still, write in English.' 

'Sorry, sir.' 

M. released the switch and turned back to the 
memorandum.) \ 

This law (he read), known popularly as 'La Loi 
Marthe Richard,' closing all houses of ill- fame 
and forbidding the sale of pornographic books 
and films, knocked the bottom out of his in- 
vestment almost overnight, and suddenly Le 
Chiffre was faced with a serious deficit in his 
union funds. In desperation he turned his open 
houses into 'maisons de passe' where clandestine 
rendezvous could be arranged on the border-line 
of the law, and he continued to operate one or two 
'cinemas bleus' underground; but these shifts in 
no way served to cover his overheads, and all at- 
tempts to sell his investment, even at a heavy loss, 
failed dismally. Meanwhile the Police des Moeurs 
were on his trail, and in a short while twenty or 
more of his establishments were closed down. 

The police were, of course, only interested in 
this man as a big-time brothel-keeper, and it was 



not until we expressed an interest in his finances 
that the Deuxieme Bureau unearthed the parallel 
dossier which was running with their colleagues of 
the police department. 

The significance of the situation became ap- 
parent to us and to our French friends, and, in the 
past few months, a veritable rat-hunt has been 
operated by the police after the establishments of 
the Cordon Jaune, with the result that today 
nothing remains of Le Chiffre's original in- 
vestment, and any routine inquiry would reveal a 
deficit of around fifty million francs in the trade- 
union funds of which he is the treasurer and 

It does not seem that the suspicions of 
Leningrad have been aroused yet; but, un- 
fortunately for Le Chiffre, it is possible that at 
any rateSMERSH is on the scent. Last week a high- 
grade source of Station P. reported that a senior 
official of the efficient organ of Soviet vengeance 
had left Warsaw for Strasbourg via the Eastern 
sector of Berlin. There is no confirmation of this 
report from the Deuxieme Bureau, nor from the 
authorities in Strasbourg (who are reliable and 
thorough) and there is also no news from Le 
Chiffre's headquarters there, which we have well 
covered by a double agent (in addition to 1860). 

If Le Chiffre knew that SMERSH was on his tail 
or that they had the smallest suspicion of him, he 
would have no alternative to committing suicide 
or attempting to escape; but his present plans 
suggest that, while he is certainly desperate, he 
does not yet realize that his life may be at stake. It 
is these rather spectacular plans of his that have 
suggested to us a counter-operation which, though 
risky and unconventional, we submit at the end of 
this memorandum with confidence. 

In brief, Le Chiffre plans, we believe, to follow 



the example of most other desperate till-robbers 
and make good the deficit in his accounts by gam- 
bling. The 'Bourse' is too slow. So are the various 
illicit traffics in drugs, or rare medicines, such as 
aureo- and streptomycin and cortisone. No race 
tracks could carry the sort of stakes he will have to 
play; and, if he won, he would more likely be 
killed than paid off . 

In any case, we know that he has withdrawn the 
final twenty-five million francs from the treasury 
of his union, and that he has taken a small villa in 
the neighbourhood of Royale-les-Eaux, just north 
of Dieppe, for a week from a fortnight tomorrow. 

Now, it is expected that the Casino at Royale 
will see the highest gambling in Europe this sum- 
mer. In an effort to wrest the big money from 
Deauville and Le Touquet, the Soci6te des Bains 
de Mers de Royale have leased the baccarat and 
the two top chemin-de-fer tables to the Mahomet 
Ali Syndicate, a group of emigre' Egyptian bankers 
and businessmen with, it is said, a call on certain 
royal funds, who have for years been trying to cut 
in on the profits of Zographos and his Greek 
associates resulting from their monopoly of the 
highest French baccarat banks. 

With the help of discreet publicity, a con- 
siderable number of the biggest operators in 
America and Europe have been encouraged to 
book at Royale this summer and it seems possible 
that this old-fashioned watering-place will regain 
some of its Victorian renown. 

Be that as it may, it is here that Le Chiffre will, 
we are confident, endeavour on or after 15 June to 
make a profit at baccarat of fifty million francs on 
a working capital of twenty- five million. (And, in- 
cidentally, save his life.) 


Proposed Counter-operation 

It would be greatly in the interests of this coun- 
try and of the other nations of the North Atlantic 
Treaty Organization that this powerful Soviet 
agent should be ridiculed and destroyed, that his 
communist trade union should be bankrupted and 
brought into disrepute, and that this potential 
fifth column, with a strength of 50,000, capable in 
time of war of controlling a wide sector of 
France's northern frontier, should lose faith and 
cohesion. All this would result if Le Chiffre could 
be defeated at the tables. (N.B. Assassination is 
pointless. Leningrad would quickly cover up his 
defalcations and make him into a martyr.) 

We therefore recommend that the finest gam- 
bler available to the Service should be given the 
necessary funds and endeavour to outgamble this 

The risks are obvious, and the possible loss to 
the Secret funds is high; but other operations on 
which large sums have been hazarded have had 
fewer chances of success, often for a smaller ob- 

If the decision is unfavourable, the only alter- 
native would be to place our information and our 
recommendations in the hands of the Deuxieme 
Bureau or of our American colleagues of the 
Combined Intelligence Agency in Washington. 
Both of these organizations would doubtless be 
delighted to take over the scheme. 

Signed: S. 

Appendix A. 
Name: Le Chiffre. 


Aliases: Variations on the words 'cipher' or 
'number' in different languages; e.g., 'Herr 
Origin: Unknown. 

First encountered as a displaced person, in- 
mate of Dachau D.P. camp in the U.S. Zone of 
Germany, June, 1945. Apparently suffering 
from amnesia and paralysis of vocal cords (? 
both feigned). Dumbness succumbed to ther- 
apy, but subject continued to claim total loss of 
memory except associations with Alsace Lor- 
raine and Strasbourg whither he was transferred 
in September, 1945, on Stateless Passport No. 
304596. Adopted the name 'Le Chiffre' ('since I 
am only a number on a passport'). No Christian 
Age: About 45. 

Description: Height 5 ft. 8 in. Weight 18 stone. 
Complexion very pale. Clean-shaven. Hair red- 
brown, 'en brosse.' Eyes very dark brown with 
whites showing all round iris. Small, rather 
feminine mouth. False teeth of expensive 
quality. Ears small, with large lobes, indicating 
some Jewish blood. Hands small, well-tended, 
hirsute. Feet small. Racially, subject is probably 
a mixture of Mediterranean with Prussian or 
Polish strains. Dresses well and meticulously, 
generally in dark double-breasted suits. Smokes 
incessantly Caporals, using a denicotinizing 
holder. At frequent intervals inhales from ben- 
zedrine inhaler. Voice soft and even. Bilingual 
in French and English. Good German. Traces 
of Marseillais accent. Smiles infrequently. Does 
not laugh. 

Habits: Mostly expensive, but discreet. Large sex- 
ual appetites. Flagellant. Expert driver of fast 
cars. Adept with small arms and other forms of 


personal combat, including knives. Carries 
three Eversharp razor blades, in hatband, heel 
of left shoe, and cigarette case. Knowledge of 
accountancy and mathematics. Fine gambler. 
Always accompanied by two armed guards, 
well-dressed, one French, one German (details 

Comment: A formidable and dangerous agent of 
the U.S.S.R., controlled by Leningrad Section 
III through Paris. 

Signed: Archivist. 

Appendix B. 
Subject: smersh 

Sources: Own archives and scanty material made 
available by DeuxiSme Bureau and C.I.A. 

Smersh is a conjunction of two Russian 
words: 'Smyert Shpionam,' meaning roughly: 
'Death to Spies.' 

Ranks above MW.D. (formerly N.K.V.D.) 
and is believed to come under the personal 
direction of Beria. 

Headquarters: Leningrad (substation at 

Its task is the elimination of all forms of 
treachery and back-sliding within the various 
branches of the Soviet Secret Service and Secret 
Police at home and abroad. It is the most 
powerful and feared organization in the 
U.S.S.R. and is popularly believed never to 
have failed in a mission of vengeance. 

It is thought that SMERSH was responsible for 
the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico (22 
August 1940) and may indeed have made its 


name with this successful murder after attempts 
by other Russian individuals and organizations 
had failed. 

SMERSH was next heard of when Hitler at- 
tacked Russia. It was then rapidly expanded to 
cope with treachery and double agents during 
the retreat of the Soviet forces in 1941. At that 
time it worked as an execution squad for the 
N.K.V.D., and its present selective mission was 
not so clearly defined. 

The organization itself was thoroughly 
purged after the war and is now believed to con- 
sist of only a few hundred operatives of very 
high quality divided into five sections: 

Department I: In , charge of counter- 
intelligence among Soviet organizations 
at home and abroad. 

Department II: Operations, including execu- 

Department III: Administration and Finance. 
Department IV: Investigations and legal 

work. Personnel. 
Department V: Prosecutions: the section 

which passes final judgment on all victims. 

Only one SMERSH operative has come into our 
hands since the war: Goytchev, alias Garrad- 
Jones. He shot Petchora, medical officer at the 
Yugoslav Embassy, in Hyde Park, 7 August 
1948. During interrogation he committed 
suicide by swallowing a coat-button of com- 
pressed potassium cyanide. He revealed nothing 
beyond his membership of SMERSH, of which he 
was arrogantly boastful-. 

We believe that the following British double 
agents were victims of SMERSH: Donovan, 
Harthrop-Vane, Elizabeth Dumont, Ventnor, 



Mace, Savarin. (For details see Morgue: Section 

Q.) ' 

Conclusion: Every effort should be made to im- 
prove our knowledge of this very powerful 
organization and destroy its operatives. 


Number 007 

Head of S. (the section of the Secret Service con- 
cerned with the Soviet Union) was so keen on his plan 
for the destruction of Le Chiffre, and it was basically 
his own plan, that he took the memorandum himself 
and went up to the top floor of the gloomy building 
overlooking Regent's Park and through the green baize 
door and along the corridor to the end room. 

He walked belligerently up to M.'s chief of staff, a 
young sapper who had earned his spurs as one of the 
secretariat to the Chiefs of Staff committee after having 
been wounded during a sabotage operation in 1944, and 
had kept his sense of humour in spite of . both ex- 

'Now look here, Bill. I want to sell something to the 
Chief. Is this a good moment?' 

'What do you think, Penny?' The Chief of Staff 
turned to M.'s private secretary, who shared the room 
with him. 

Miss Moneypenny would have been desirable but for 


NUMBER 007 19 

her eyes, which were cool and direct and quizzical. 

'Should be all right. He won a bit of a victory at the 
F.O. this morning and he's not. got anyone for the next 
half an hour.' She smiled encouragingly at Head of S., 
whom she liked for himself and for the importance of 
his section. 

'Well, here's the dope, Bill.' He handed over the 
black folder with the red star which stood for Top 
Secret. 'And for God's sake look enthusiastic when you 
give it him. And tell him I'll wait here and read a good 
code-book while he's considering it. He may want some 
more details, and anyway I want to see you two don't 
pester him with anything else until he's finished. ' 

'All right, sir.' The Chief of Staff pressed a switch 
and leant towards the intercom on his desk. 

'Yes?' asked a quiet, flat voice. 

'Head of S. has an urgent docket for you, sir. ' 

There was a pause. 

'Bring it in,' said the voice; 

The Chief of Staff released the switch and stood up. 

'Thanks, Bill. I'll be next door,' said Head of S. 

The Chief of Staff crossed his office and went 
through the double doors leading into M.'s room. In a 
moment he came out, and over the entrance a small blue 
light burned the warning that M. was not to be dis- 

Later, a triumphant Head of S. said to his Number 
Two: 'We nearly cooked ourselves with that last 
paragraph. He said it was subversion and blackmail. He 
got pretty sharp about it. Anyway, he approves. Says 
the idea's crazy but worth trying if the Treasury will 
play, and he thinks they will. He's going to tell them it's 
a better gamble than the money we're putting into de- 
serting Russian colonels who turn double after a few 
months' "asylum" here. And he's longing to get at Le 
Chiffre, and anyway he's got the right man and wants to 
try him out on the job.' \ 



'Who is it?' asked Number Two. 

' One of the Double O's — I guess 007 . He's tough, and 
M. thinks there may be trouble with those gunmen of Le 
Chiffre's. He must be pretty good with the cards, or he 
wouldn't have sat in the Casino in Monte Carlo for two 
months before the war watching that Roumanian team 
work their stuff with the invisible ink and the dark 
glasses. He and the Deuxieme bowled them out in the 
end, and 007 turned in a million francs he had won at 
shemmy. Good money in those days. ' 

James Bond's interview with M'. had been short. 

'What about it, Bond?' asked M. when Bond came 
back into his room after reading Head of S.'s memoran- 
dum and after gazing for ten minutes out of the waiting- 
room window at the distant trees in the park. 

Bond looked across the desk into the shrewd, clear 

'It's very kind of you, sir, I'd like to do it. But I can't 
promise -to win. The odds at baccarat are the best after 
"trente et quarante" — evens except for the tiny 
"cagnotte" — but I might get a bad run against me and 
get cleaned out. Play's going to be pretty 
high— opening' 11 go up to half a million, I should 

Bond was stopped by the cold eyes. M. knew all this 
already, knew the odds at baccarat as well as Bond. 
That was his job — knowing the odds at everything, and 
knowing men, his own and the opposition's. Bond 
wished he had kept quiet about his misgivings. 

'He can have a bad run too,' said M. 'You'll have 
plenty of capital. Up to twenty-five million, the same as 
him. We'll start you on ten and send you another ten 
when you've had a look round. You can make the extra 
five yourself.' He smiled. 'Go over a few days before 
the big game starts and get your hand in. Have a talk to 
Q. about rooms and trains, and any equipment you 
want. The Paymaster will fix the funds. I'm going to ask 



the Deuxieme to stand by. It's their territory, and as it is 
we shall be lucky if they don't kick up rough . I'll try and 
persuade them to send Mathis. You seemed to get on 
well with him in Monte Carlo on that other Casino job. 
And I'm going to tell Washington because of the 
N.A.T.O. angle. C.I. A. have got one or two good men 
at Fontainebleau with the joint intelligence chaps there. 
Anything else?' 

Bond shook his head. 'I'd certainly like to have 
Mathis, sir.' 

'Well, we'll see. Try and bring it off. We're going to 
look pretty foolish if you don't. And watch out. This 
sounds an amusing job, but I don't think it's going to 
be. Le Chiffre is a good man. Well, best of luck.' 

'Thank you, sir,' said Bond, and went to the door. 

'Just a minute.' 

Bond turned. 

'I think I'll keep you covered, Bond. Two heads are 
better than one and you'll need someone to run your 
communications. I'll think it over. They'll get in touch 
i with you at Royale. You needn't worry. It'll be someone 

Bond would have preferred to work alone, but one 
didn't argue with M. He left the room hoping that the 
man they sent would be loyal to.him and neither stupid 
nor, worse still, ambitious. 


'L'Ennemi Ecoute' 

As, two weeks later, James Bond awoke in his 
room at the Hotel Splehdide, some of this history 
passed through his mind. 

He had arrived at Royale-les-Eaux in time for lunch- 
eon two days before. There had been no attempt to con- 
tact him, and there had been no flicker of curiosity 
when he had signed the register 'James Bond, Port 
Maria, Jamaica.' 

M. had expressed no interest in his cover. 

'Once you start to make a set at Le Chiffre at the 
tables you'll have had it,' he said. 'But wear a cover that 
will stick with the general public. ' 

Bond knew Jamaica well, so he asked to be controlled 
from there and to pass as a Jamaican phantocrat whose 
father had made his pile in tobacco and sugar and who 
chose to play it away on the stock markets and in 
casinos. If inquiries were made, he would quote Charles 
Dasilva of Caffery's, Kingston, as his attorney. Charles 
would make the story stick. 




Bond had spent the last two afternoons and most of 
the nights at the Casino, playing complicated 
progression systems on the even chances at roulette. He 
made a high banco at chemin-de-fer whenever he heard 
one offered. If he lost, he would 'suivi' once and not 
chase it further if he lost the second time. 

In this way he had made some three million francs 
and had given his nerves and card-sense a thorough 
workout. He had got the geography of the Casino clear 
in his mind. Above all, he had been able to observe Le 
Chiffre at the tables and to note ruefully that he was a 
faultless and lucky gambler. 

Bond liked to make a good breakfast. After a cold 
shower, he- sat at the writing-table in front of the 
window. He looked out at the beautiful day and con- 
sumed half a pint of iced orange juice, three scrambled 
eggs and bacon, and a double portion of coffee without 
sugar. He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish 
mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street, 
and watched the small waves lick the long seashore and 
the fishing fleet from Dieppe string out towards the 
June heat-haze followed by a paper-chase of herring- 

He was lost in his thoughts when the telephone rang. 
It was the concierge announcing that a Director of 
Radio Stentor was waiting below with the wireless set he 
v had ordered from Paris. 

'Of course,' said Bond. 'Send him up.' 

This was the cover fixed by the Deuxieme Bureau for 
their liaison man with Bond. Bond watched the door, 
hoping that it would be Mathis. 

When Mathis came in, a respectable businessman 
carrying a large square parcel by its leather handle, 
Bond smiled broadly and would have greeted him with 
warmth if Mathis had not frowned and held up his free 
hand after carefully closing the door. 

'I have just arrived from Paris, monsieur, and here is 
the set you asked to have on approval — five valves, 




superhet, I think you call it in England, and you should 
be able to get most of the capitals of Europe from 
Royale. There are no mountains for forty miles in any 

'It sounds all right,' said Bond, lifting his eyebrows at 
this mystery-making. 

Mathis paid no attention. He placed the set, which he 
had unwrapped, on the floor beside the unlit panel elec- 
tric fire below the mantelpiece. 

'It is just past eleven,' he said, 'and I see that the 
Compagnons de la Chanson should now be on the 
medium wave from Rome. They are touring Europe. 
Let us see what the reception is like. It should be a fair 

He winked. Bond noticed that he had turned the 
volume on to full and that the red light indicating the 
long waveband was illuminated, though the set was still 

Mathis fiddled at the back of the set. Suddenly an ap- 
palling roar of static filled the small room. Mathis gazed 
at the set for a few seconds with benevolence and then 
turned it off, and his voice was full of dismay. 

'My dear monsieur — forgive me, please— badly 
tuned.' And he again bent to the dials. After a few ad- 
justments the close harmony of the French came over 
the air, and Mathis walked up and clapped Bond very 
hard on the back and wrung his hand until Bond's 
fingers ached. 

Bond smiled back at him. 'Now what the hell?' he 

'My dear friend,' Mathis was delighted, 'you are 
blown, blown, blown. Up there,' he pointed at the 
ceiling, 'at this moment, either Monsieur Muntz or his 
alleged wife, allegedly bedridden with the grippe, is 
deafened, absolutely deafened, and I hope in agony.' 
He grinned with pleasure at Bond's frown of disbelief. 

Mathis sat down on the bed and ripped open a packet 
of Caporal with his thumbnail. Bond waited. 



Mathis was satisfied with the sensation his words had 
caused. He became serious. 

'How it has happened, I don't know. They must have 
been on to you for several days before you arrived. The 
opposition is here in real strength. Above you is the 
Muntz family. He is German. She is from somewhere in 
Central Europe, perhaps a Czech. This is an old- 
fashioned hotel. There are disused chimneys behind 
these electric fires. Just here,' he pointed a few inches 
above the panel fire, 'is suspended a very powerful radio 
pick-up. The wires run up the chimney to behind the 
Muntzes' electric fire where there is an amplifier. In 
their room is a wire recorder and a pair of earphones on 
which the Muntzes listen in turn. That is why Madame 
Muntz has the grippe and takes all her meals in bed and 
why Monsieur Muntz has to be constantly at her side in- 
stead of enjoying the sunshine and the gambling of this 
delightful resort. 

'Some of this we knew because in France we are very 
clever. The rest we confirmed by unscrewing your elec- 
tric fire a few hours before you got here. ' 

Suspiciously Bond walked over and examined the 
screws which secured the panel to the wall. Their 
grooves showed minute scratches. 

'Now it is time for a little more play-acting,' said 
Mathis. He walked over to the radio, which was still 
transmitting close harmony to its audience of three, and 
switched it off. 

'Are you satisfied, monsieur?' he asked. 'You notice 
how clearly they come over. Are they not a wonderful 
team?' He made a winding motion with his right hand 
and raised his eyebrows. 

'They are so good;' said Bond, 'that I would like to 
hear the rest of the programme.' He grinned at the 
thought of the angry glances which the Muntzes must be 
exchanging overhead. 'The machine itself seems splen- 
did. Just what I was looking for to take back to 
Jamaica.' ' 



Mathis made a sarcastic grimace and switched back to 
the Rome programme. 

'You and your Jamaica,' he said, and sat down again 
on the bed. 

Bond frowned at him. 'Well, it's no good crying over 
spilt milk,' he said. 'We didn't expect the cover to stick 
for long, but it's worrying that they bowled it out so 
soon.' He searched his mind in vain for a clue. Could 
the Russians have broken one of our ciphers? If so, he 
might just as well pack up and go home. He and his job 
would have been stripped naked. 

Mathis seemed to read his mind. 'It can't have been a 
cipher,' he said. 'Anyway, we told London at once, and 
they will have changed them. A pretty flap we caused, I 
can tell you.' He smiled with the satisfaction of a 
friendly rival. 'And now to business, before our good 
Compagnons run out of breath. 

'First of all' — he inhaled a thick lungful of 
Caporal — 'you will be pleased with your Number Two. 
She is very beautiful (Bond frowned), very beautiful in- 
deed.' Satisfied with Bond's reaction, Mathis con- 
tinued: 'She has black hair, blue eyes, and splendid ... 
er . . . protuberances. Back and front,' he added. 'And 
she is a wireless expert which, though sexually less in- 
teresting, makes her a perfect employee of Radio 
Stentor and assistant to myself in my capacity as 
wireless salesman for this rich summer season down 
here.' He grinned. 'We are both staying in the hotel, 
and my assistant will thus be on hand in case your new 
radio breaks down. All new machines, even French 
ones, are apt to have teething troubles in the first day or 
two. And occasionally at night,' he added with an 
exaggerated wink. 

Bond was not amused. 'What the hell do they want to 
send me a woman for,' he said bitterly. 'Do they think 
this is a bloody picnic?' 

Mathis interrupted. 'Calm yourself, my dear James. 
She is as serious as you could wish and as cold as an 



icicle. She speaks French like a native and knows her job 
backwards. Her cover's perfect, and I have arranged for 
her to team up with you "quite smoothly. What is more 
natural than that you should pick up a pretty girl here? 
As a Jamaican millionaire/ he coughed respectfully, 
'what with your hot blood and all, you would look 
naked without one.' 

Bond grunted dubiously. 

'Any other surprises?' he asked suspiciously. 

' Nothing very much,' answered Mathis. 'LeChiffre is 
installed in his villa. It's about ten miles down the coast 
road. He had his two guards with him. They look pretty 
capable fellows. One of them has been seen visiting a 
little pension in the town where three mysterious and 
rather subhuman characters checked in two days ago. 
They may be part of the team. Their papers are in or- 
der — stateless Czechs apparently — but one of our men 
says the language they talk in their room is Bulgarian. 
We don't see many of those around. They're mostly 
used against the Turks and the Yugoslavs. They're 
stupid, but obedient. The Russians use them for simple 
killings or as fall-guys for more complicated ones.' 

'Thanks very much. Which is mine to be?' asked 
Bond. 'Anything else?' 

'No. Come to the bar of the Hermitage before lunch. 
I'll fix the introduction. Ask her to dinner this evening. 
Then it will be natural for her to come into the Casino 
with you. I'll be there too, but in the background. I've 
got one or two good chaps, and we'll keep an eye on 
you. Oh, and there's an American called Leiter here, 
staying in the hotel. Felix Leiter. He's the C.I. A. chap 
from Fontainebleau. London told me to tell you. He 
looks okay. May come in useful. ' 

A torrent of Italian burst from the wireless set on the 
floor. Mathis switched it off and they exchanged some 
phrases about the set and about how Bond should pay 
for it. Then with effusive farewells and a final wink 
Mathis bowed himself out. 



Bond sat at the window and gathered his thoughts. 
Nothing that Mathis had told him was reassut^ng. He 
was completely blown and under really professional sur- 
veillance. An attempt might be made to put him away 
even before he had a chance to pit himself against Le 
Chiffre at the tables. The Russians had no stupid 
prejudices about murder. And then there was this pest 
of a girl. He sighed. Women were for recreation. On a 
job, they got in the;; way and fogged things up with sex 
and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they 
carried around. One had to look out for them and take 
care of them. - 

'Bitch,' said Bond, and then remembering the 
Muntzes, he said 'bitch' again more loudly and walked 
out of the room. 


The Girl from Headquarters 

It was twelve o'clock when Bond left the Splen- 
dide, and the clock on the mairie was stumbling through 
its midday carillon. There was a strong scent of pine and 
mimosa in the air, and the freshly watered gardens of 
the Casino opposite, interspersed with neat gravel par- 
terres and paths, lent the scene a pretty formalism more 
appropriate to ballet than to melodrama. 

The sun shone, and there was a gaiety and sparkle in 
the air which seemed to promise well for the new era of 
fashion and prosperity for which the little seaside town, 
after many vicissitudes, was making its gallant bid. 

Royale-les-Eaux, which lies near the mouth of the 
Somme before the flat coast-line soars up from the 
beaches of southern Picardy to the Brittany cliffs which 
run on to Le Havre, had experienced much the same 
fortunes as Trouville. 

Royale (without the Eaux) also started as a small 
fishing-village, and its rise to fame as a fashionable 
watering-place during the Second Empire was as 




meteoric as that of Trouville. But as Deauville killed 
Trouville, so, after a long period of decline,; did Le 
Touquet kill Royale. 

At the turn pf the century, when things were going 
badly for the little seaside town and when the fashion 
was to combine pleasure with a 'cure,' a natural spring 
in the hills behind Royale was discovered to contain 
enough diluted sulphur to have a beneficent effect on 
the liver. Since all French people suffer from liver com- 
plaints, Royale quickly became Royale-les-Eaux, and 
Eau Royale, in a torpedo-shaped bottle, grafted itself 
demurely on to the tail of the mineral-water lists in 
hotels and restaurant cars. 

It did not long withstand the powerful combines of 
Vichy and Perrier and Vittel. There came a series of 
lawsuits; a number "of people lost a lot of money, and 
very soon its sale was again entirely local. Royale fell 
back on the takings from French and English families 
v during the summer, on its fishing-fleet in winter and on 
the crumbs which fell to its elegantly dilapidated Casino 
from the tables at Le Touquet. 

But there was something splendid about the Negresco 
baroque of the Casino Royale, a strong whiff of Vic- 
torian elegance and luxury, and in 1950 Royale caught, 
the fancy of a syndicate in Paris which disposed of large 
funds belonging to a group of expatriate Vichyites. 

Brighton had been revived since the war, and Nice. 
Nostalgia for more specious, golden times might be a 
source of revenue. 

The Casino was repainted in its original white and 
gilt, and the rooms decorated in the palest grey with 
wine-red carpets and curtains. Vast chandeliers were 
suspended from the ceilings. The gardens were spruced, 
and the fountains played again, and the two main 
hotels, the Splendide and the Hermitage, were prinked 
and furbished and restaffed. 

Even the small town and the vieux-port managed to 
fix welcoming smiles across their ravaged faces, and the 



main street became gay with the 'vitrines' of great Paris 
jewellers and couturiers, tempted down for a butterfly 
season by rent-free sites and lavish promises. 

Then the Mahomet Ali Syndicate was cajoled into 
starting a high game in the Casino and the Socie"te des 
Bains de Mer de Royale felt that now at last Le Touquet 
would have to yield up some of the treasure stolen over 
the years from its parent plage. 

Against the background of this luminous and 
sparkling stage Bond stood in the sunshine and felt his 
mission to be incongruous and remote and his dark 
profession an affront to his fellow actors. 

He shrugged away the momentary feeling of unease 
and walked round the back of his hotel and down the 
ramp to the garage. Before his rendezvous at the Her- 
mitage he decided to take his car down the coast road 
and have a quick look at Le Chiffre's villa and then 
drive back by the inland road until it crossed the route 
nationale to Paris. 

Bond's car was his only personal hobby. One of the 
last of the 4'/i-litre Bentleys with the supercharger by 
Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 
and had kept it in careful storage through the war. It 
was still serviced every year and, in London, a former 
Bentley mechanic, who worked in a garage near Bond's 
Chelsea flat, tended it with jealous care. Bond drove it 
hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. It 
was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really 
did convert, and it was capable of touring at ninety with 
thirty miles an hour in reserve. 

Bond eased the car out of the garage and up the ramp, 
and soon the loitering drumbeat of the two-inch exhaust 
was echoing down the tree-lined boulevard, through the 
crowded main street of the little town, and off through 
the sand dunes to the south. 

An hour later, Bond walked into the Hermitage bar 
and chose a table near one of the broad windows. 

The room was sumptuous with those overmasculine 



trappings which, together with briar pipes and wire- 
haired terriers, spell luxury in France. Everything was 
brass-studded leather and polished mahogany. The cur- 
tains and carpets were in royal blue! The waiters wore 
striped waistcoats and green baize aprons. Bond or- 
dered an Americano and examined the sprinkling of 
overdressed customers, mostly from Paris he guessed, 
who sat talking with focus and vivacity, creating that 
theatrically clubbable atmosphere of Pheure de 

The men were drinking inexhaustible quarter-bottles 
of champagne, the women dry Martinis. 

'Moi, j'adore le "dry," ' a bright-faced girl at the 
next table said to her companion, too neat in his un- 
seasonable tweeds, who gazed at her with moist brown 
eyes over the top of an expensive shooting-stick from 
Hermes, 'fait avec du Gordon's, bien entendu.' 

'D'accord, Daisy. Mais tu sais, un zeste de citron 

Bond's eye was caught by the tall figure of Mathis on 
the pavement outside, his face turned in animation to a 
dark haired girl in grey. His arm was linked in hers, high 
Up above the elbow, and yet there was a lack of intimacy 
in their appearance, an ironical chill in the girl's profile, 
which made them seem two separate people rather than 
a couple. Bond waited for them to come through the 
street-door into the bar, but for appearances' sake con- 
tinued to stare out of the window at the passers-by. 

'But surely it is Monsieur Bond?' Mathis's Voice 
behind him was full of surprised delight. Bond, ap- 
propriately flustered, rose to his feet. 'Can it be that you 
are alone? Are you awaiting someone? May I present 
my colleague, Mademoiselle Lynd? My dear, this is the 
gentleman from Jamaica with whom I had the pleasure 
of doing business this morning.' 

Bond inclined himself with a reserved friendliness. 'It 
would be a great pleasure,' he addressed himself to the 
girl. 'I am alone. Would you both care to join me?' He 
pulled out a chair, and while they sat down he beckoned 



to a waiter and despite Mathis's expostulations insisted 
on ordering the drinks— a fine a l'eau for Mathis and a 
Bacardi for the girl. 

Mathis and Bond exchanged cheerful talk about the 
fine weather and the prospects of a revival in the for- x 
tunes of Royale-les-Eaux. The girl sat silent. She ac- 
cepted pne of Bond's cigarettes, examined it, and then 
smoked it appreciatively and without affectation, 
drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs with, a little 
sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and 
nostrils. Her movements were economical and precise 
with no trace of self-consciousness. 

Bond felt her presence strongly. While he and Mathis 
talked, he turned from time to time towards her, 
politely including her in the conversation, but adding up 
the impressions recorded by each glance. 

Her hair was very black, and she wore it cut square 
and low on the nape of the neck, framing her face to 
below the clear and beautiful line of her jaw. Although 
it was heavy and moved with the movements of her 
head, she did not constantly pat it back into place, but 
let it alone. Her eyes were wide apart and deep blue, and 
they gazed candidly back at Bond with a touch of 
ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he 
would like to shatter, roughly. Her skin was lightly sun- 
tanned and bore no trace of makeup except on her 
mouth, which was wide and sensual. Her bare arms and 
hands had a quality of repose, and the general im- 
pression Of restraint in her appearance and movements 
was carried even to her fingernails, which were un- 
painted and cut short. Round her neck she wore a plain 
gold chain of wide flat links, and on the fourth finger of 
the right hand a broad topaz ring. Her medium-length 
dress was of grey soie sauvage with a square-cut bodice, 
lasciviously tight across her fine breasts. The skirt Was 
closely pleated and flowered down from a narrow, but 
not^a thin, waist. She wore a three-inch, hand-stitched 
black belt. A hand-stitched black sabretache rested on 


the chair beside her, together with a wide cartwheel hat 
of gold straw, its crown encircled by a thin black velvet 
ribbon which tied at the back in a short bow. Her shoes 
were square-toed of plain black leather. 

Bond was excited by her beauty and intrigued by her 
composure. The prospect of working with her 
stimulated him. At the same time he felt a vague 
disquiet. On an impulse he touched wood. 

Mathis had noticed Bond's preoccupation. After a 
time he rose. 

'Forgive me, ' he said to the girl, 'while I telephone to 
the Dubernes. I must arrange my rendezvous for dinner 
tonight. Are you sure you won't mind being left to your 
own devices this evening?' 

She shook her head. - 

Bond took the cue and, as Mathis crossed the room to 
the telephone booth beside the bar, he said: 'If you are 
going to be alone tonight, would you care to have dinner 
with me?' 

She smiled with the first hint of conspiracy she had 
shown. 'I would like to very much,' she said, 'and then 
perhaps you would chaperon me to the Casino where 
Monsieur Mathis tells me you are very much at home. 
Perhaps I will bring you luck.' 

With Mathis gone, her attitude towards him showed a 
sudden warmth. She seemed to acknowledge that they 
were a team and, as they discussed the time and place of 
their meeting, Bond realized that it would be quite easy 
after all to plan the details of his project with her. He 
felt that after all she was interested and excited by her 
role and that she would work willingly with him. He had 
imagined many hurdles before establishing a rapport, 
but now he felt he could get straight down to 
professional details. He was quite honest to himself 
about the hypocrisy of his attitude towards her. As a 
woman, he wanted to sleep with her, but only when the 
job had been done. 

When Mathis came back to the table Bond called for 



his bill. He explained that he was expected back at his 
hotel to have lunch with friends. When for a moment he 
held her hand in his he felt a warmth of affection and 
understanding pass between them that would have 
seemed impossible half an hour earlier. 

The girl's eyes followed him out on to the boulevard. 

Mathis moved his chair close to hers and said softly: 
'That is a very good friend of mine. I am glad you have 
met each other. I can already feel the ice-floes on the 
two rivers breaking up.' He smiled. 'I don't think Bond 
has ever been melted. It will be a new experience for 
him. And for you.' 

She did not answer him directly. 

'He is very good-looking. He reminds me rather of 
Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and 
ruthless in his ... ' 

The sentence was never finished. Suddenly a few feet 
, away the entire plate-glass window shivered into con- 
fetti. The blast of a terrific explosion, very near, hit 
them so that they were rocked back in their chairs. 
There was an instant of silence. Some objects pattered 
down on to the pavement outside. Bottles slowly 
toppled off the shelves behind the bar. Then there were 
screams and a stampede for the door. 

'Stay there,' said Mathis. 

He kicked back his chair and hurtled through the 
empty window-frame on to the payment. 


Two Men in Straw Hats 

When Bond left the bar he walked purposefully 
along the pavement flanking the tree-lined boulevard 
towards his hotel a few hundred yards away. He was 

The day was still beautiful, but by now the sun was 
very hot and the plane-trees, spaced about twenty feet 
apart on the grass verge between the pavement and the 
broad tarmac, gave a cool shade. 

There were few people abroad and the two men stand- 
ing quietly under a tree on the opposite side of the 
boulevard looked out of place. 

Bond noticed them when he was still a hundred yards 
away and when the same distance separated them from 
the ornamental 'porte-cochere' of the Splendide. 

There was something rather disquieting about their 
appearance. They were both small, and they were 
dressed alike in dark and, Bond reflected, rather hot- 
looking suits. They had the appearance of a variety turn 
waiting for a bus on the way to the theatre. Each wore a 




straw hat with a thick black ribbon as a concession, 
perhaps, to the holiday atmosphere of the resort, and 
the. brims of these and the shadow from the tree under 
which they stood obscured their faces. Incongruously, 
each dark, squat little figure was illuminated by a touch 
of bright colour. They were both carrying square 
camera-cases slung from the shoulder. 

And one case was bright red and the other case bright 

By the time Bond had taken in these details, he had 
come to within fifty yards of the two men. He was 
reflecting on the ranges of various types of weapon and 
the possibilities of cover when an extraordinary and 
terrible scene was enacted. 

Red-man seemed to give a short nod to Blue-man. 
With a quick movement Blue-man unslung his blue 
camera case. Blue-man, and Bond could not see exactly 
as the trunk of a plane-tree beside him just then in- 
tervened to obscure his vision, bent forward and seemed , 
to fiddle with the case. Then with a blinding flash of 
white light there was the ear-splitting crack of a mon- 
strous explosion and Bond, despite the protection of the 
tree-trunk, was slammed down to the pavement by a 
solid bolt of hot air which dented his cheeks and 
stomach as if they had been made of paper. He lay, 
gazing up at the sun, while the air (or so it seemed to 
him) went on twanging with the explosion as if someone 
had hit the bass register of a piano with a sledge 
hammer. < 

When, dazed and half-conscious, he raised himself on 
one knee, a ghastly rain of pieces of flesh and shreds of 
blood-soaked clothing fell on him and around him, 
mingled with branches and gravel. Then a shower ^ of 
small twigs and leaves. From all sides came the sharp 
tinkle of falling glass. Above in the sky hung a 
mushroom of black smoke which rose and dissolved as 
he drunkenly watched it. There was an obscene smell of 
high explosive, of burning wood, and of, yes, that was 



it— roast mutton. For fifty yards down the boulevard 
the trees were leafless and charred. Opposite, two of 
them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly 
across the road. Between them there was a still smoking 
crater. Of the two men in straw hats, there remained ab- 
solutely nothing. But there were red traces on the road, 
and on the pavements and against the trunks of the 
trees, and there were glittering shreds high up in the 

Bond felt himself starting to vomit. 

It was Mathis who got to him first, and by that time 
Bond was standing with his arm round the tree which 
had saved his life. 

Stupefied, but unharmed, he allowed Mathis to lead 
him off towards the Splendide from which guests and 
servants were pouring in chattering fright. As the 
distant clang of bells heralded the arrival of ambulances 
and fire-engines, they managed to push through the 
throng and up the short stairs and along the corridor to 
Bond's room. 

Mathis paused only to turn on the radio in front of 
the fireplace, then, while Bond stripped off his blood- 
flecked clothes, Mathis sprayed him with questions. 

When it came to the description of the two men, 
Mathis tore the telephone off its hook beside Bond's 

. . and tell the police,' he concluded, 'tell them that 
the Englishman from Jamaica who was knocked over by 
the blast is my affair. He is unhurt, and they are not to 
worry him. I will explain to them in half an hour. They 
should tell the Press that it was apparently a vendetta 
between two Bulgarian communists and that one killed 
the other with a bomb. They need say nothing of the 
third Bulgar who must have been hanging about 
somewhere, but they must get him at all costs. He will 
certainly head for Paris. Roadblocks everywhere. Un- 
derstood? Alors, bonne chance.' 



Mathis turned back to Bond and heard him to the 

'Merde, but you were lucky,' he said when Bond had 
finished. 'Clearly the bomb was intended for you. It 
must have been faulty. They intended to throw it and 
then dodge behind their tree. But it all came out the 
other way round. Never mind. We will discover the 
facts.' He paused. 'But certainly it is a curious affair. 
And these people appear to be taking you seriously.' 
Mathis looked affronted. 'But how did these sacre" 
Bulgars intend to escape capture? And what was the 
significance of the red and the blue cases? We must try 
and find some fragments of the red one.' 

Mathis bit his nails. He was excited, and his eyes glit- 
tered. This was becoming a formidable and dramatic af- 
fair, in many aspects of which he was now involved per- 
sonally. Certainly it was no longer just a case of holding 
Bond's coat while he had his private battle with Le 
Chiffre in the Casino. Mathis jumped up. 

'Now get a drink and some lunch and a rest,' he or- 
dered Bond. 'For me, I must get my nose quickly into 
this affair before the police have muddied the trail with 
their big black boots.' 

Mathis turned off the radio and waved an af- 
fectionate farewell. The door slammed, and silence set- 
tled on the room. Bond sat for a while by the window 
and enjoyed being alive. 

Later, as Bond was finishing his first straight whisky 
'on the rocks' and was contemplating the p§te de foie . 
gras and cold langouste which the waiter had just laid 
out for him, the telephone rang. 

'This is Mademoiselle Lynd.' 

The voice was low and anxious. 

'Are you all right?' 

'Yes, quite.' 

'I'm glad: Please take care of yourself.' 
She rang off. 



Bond shook himself, then he picked up his knife and 
selected the thickest of the pieces of hot toast . 

He suddenly thought: two of them are dead, and I 
have got one more on my side. It's a start. 

He dipped the knife into the glass of very hot water 
which stood beside the pot of Strasbourg porcelain and 
reminded himself to tip the waiter doubly for this par- 
ticular meal. 


Rouge et Noir 

Bond was determined to be completely fit and 
relaxed for a gambling session which might last most of 
the night. He ordered a masseur for three o'clock. After 
the remains of his luncheon had been removed, he sat at 
his window gazing out to sea until there came a knock 
on the door as the masseur, a Swede, presented himself. 

Silently he got to work on Bond from his feet to his 
neck, melting the tensions in his body and calming his 
still twanging nerves. Even the long purpling bruises 
down Bond's left shoulder and side ceased to throb, and 
when the Swede had gone Bond fell into a dreamless 

He awoke in the evening completely refreshed. 

After a cold shower, Bond walked over to the Casino. 
Since the night before he had lost the mood of the 
tables. He needed to reestablish that focus which is half 
mathematical and half intuitive and which, with a slow 
pulse and a sanguine temperament, he knew to be the 




essential equipment of any gambler who was set on 

Bond had always been a gambler. He loved the dry 
riffle of the cards and the constant unemphatic drama 
of the quiet figures round the green tables. He liked the 
solid, studied comfort of cardrooms and casinos, the 
well-padded arms of the chairs, the glass of champagne 
or whisky at the elbow, the quiet unhurried attention of 
good servants. He was amused by the impartiality of the 
roulette ball and of the playing cards — and their eternal 
bias. He liked being an actor and a spectator and from 
his chair to take part in other men's dramas and 
decisions, until it came to his own turn to say that vital 
'yes' or 'no,' generally on a fifty-fifty chance. 

Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own 
fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck 
was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted 
with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it 
had to be understood and recognized for what it was 
and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, 
, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play 
for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved 
and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly 
wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pur- 
sued. But he was honest enough to, admit that he had 
never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. 
One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought 
to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he 
knew that he too would be branded with the deadly 
question-mark he recognized so often in others, the 
promise to -pay before you have lost: the acceptance of 
fallibility. ^ 

But on this June evening when Bond walked through 
the 'kitchen' into the salle priv6e, it was with a sensation 
of confidence and cheerful anticipation that he changed 
a million francs into plaques of fifty mille and took a 



seat next to the chef de partie at Roulette. Table 
Number 1. . 

Bond borrowed the chef's card and studied the run of 
the ball since the session had started at three o'clock 
that afternoon. He always did this although he knew 
that- each turn of the wheel, each fall of the ball into a 
numbered slot, had absolutely no connexion with its 
predecessor. He accepted that the game begins afresh 
each time the croupier picks up the ivory ball with his 
right hand, gives one of the four spokes of the wheel a 
controlled twist clockwise with the same hand and, with 
a third motion, also with the right hand, flicks the ball 
round the outer rim of the wheel anticlockwise, against 
its spin. 

It was obvious that all this ritual and all the 
mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots 
and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over 
the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any 
bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball. And 
yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond 
rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past 
history of each session and to be guided by any pe- 
culiarities in the run of the wheel. To note, for instance, 
and consider significant, sequences of more than two on 
a single number or of more than four at the other 
chances down to evens. 

Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply main- 
tained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into 
gambling, the more you took out. 

On the record of that particular table, after about 
three hours' play, Bond could see little of interest except 
that the last dozen had been out of favour, It was his 
practice to play always with the wheel, and only to turn 
against its previous pattern and start on a new tack after 
a zero had turned up. So he decided to play one of his 
favourite gambits and back two— in this case the first 



two— dozens, each with the maximum— one hundred 
thousand francs. He thus had two-thirds of the board 
covered (less the zero) and, since the dozens pay odds of 
two to one, he stood to win a hundred thousand francs 
every time any number lower than 25 turned up. 

After seven coups he had won six times. He lost on 
the seventh When 30 came up. His net profit was half a 
million francs. He kept off the table for the eighth 
throw. Zero turned up. This piece of luck cheered him 
further and, accepting the 30 as a finger-post to the last 
dozen, he decided to back the first and last dozens until 
he had lost twice. Ten throws later the middle dozen 
came up twice, costing him four hundred thousand 
francs, but he rose from the table eleven hundred 
thousand francs to the good. 

Directly Bond had started playing in maximums, his 
game had become the centre of interest at the table. As 
he seemed to be in luck, one or two pilot fish started to 
swim with the shark. Sitting directly opposite, one of 
these, whom Bond took to be "an American, had shown 
more than the usual friendliness and pleasure at his 
share of the winning streak. He had smiled once or twice 
across the table, and there was something pointed in the 
way he duplicated Bond's movements, placing his two 
modest plaques of ten mille exactly opposite Bond's 
larger ones. When Bond rose, he too pushed back his 
chair and called cheerfully across the table: 

'Thanks for the ride. Guess I owe you a drink. Will 
you join me?' 

Bond had a feeling that this might be the CI. A. man. 
He knew he was right as they strolled off together 
towards the bar, after Bond had thrown a plaque of ten 
mille to the croupier and had given a mille to the huissier 
who drew back his chair. 

'My name's Felix Leiter,' said the American. 'Glad to 
meet you. ' 

'Mine's Bond— James Bond.' 


'Oh, yes,' said his companion, 'and now let's see. 
What shall we have to celebrate?' 

Bond insisted on ordering Leiter's Haig-and Haig 'on 
the rocks,' and then he looked carefully at the barman. 

'A dry Martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne 

'Oui, Monsieur.' 

'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of 
vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well 
until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon- 
peel. Got it?' 

'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased 
with the idea. 

'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter. 

Bond laughed. 'When I'm-er-concentrating,' he 
explained, 'I never have more. than one drink before 
dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong 
and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions 
of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This 
drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I 
can think of a good name.' 

He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted 
with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the 
bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long 

'Excellent,' he said to the barman, 'but if you can get 
a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will 
find it still better.' 

'Mais n'enculons pas des mouches,' he added in an 
aside to the barman. The barman grinned. 

'That's a vulgar way of saying "we won't split 
hairs," ' explained Bond. 

But Leiter was still interested in Bond's drink. 'You 
certainly think things out,' he said with amusement as 
they carried their glasses to a corner of the room. He 
lowered his voice: 

'You'd better call it the "Molotov Cocktail" after the 



one you tasted this afternoon.' , 

They sat down. Bond laughed. 
- 'I see that the spot marked X has been roped off, and 
they're making cars take a detour over the pavement. I 
hope it hasn't frightened away any of the big money. ' 

'People are accepting the communist story or else 
they think it was a burst gas-main. All the burnt trees 
are coming down tonight and if they work things here 
like they do at Monte Carlo, there won't be a trace of 
the mess left in the morning.' 

Leiter shook a Chesterfield out of his pack. 'I'm glad 
to be working with you on this job,' he said, looking 
into his drink, 'so I'm particularly glad you didn't get 
blown to glory. Our people are definitely interested. 
They think it's just as important as your friends do, and 
they don't think there's anything crazy about it at all. In 
fact, Washington's pretty sick we're not running the 
show, but you know what the big brass is like. I expect 
your fellows are much the same in London. ' 

Bond nodded. 'Apt to be a bit jealous of their 
scoops,' he admitted. 

'Anyway, I'm under your orders and I'm to give you 
any help you ask for. With Mathis and his boys here, 
there may not be much that isn't taken care of already. 
But, anyway, here I am. ' 

'I'm delighted you are,' said Bond. 'The opposition 
has got me, and probably you and Mathis too, all 
weighed up, and it seems no holds are going to be 
barred. I'm glad Le Chiffre seems as desperate as we 
thought he was. I'm afraid I haven't got anything very 
specific for you to do, but I'd be grateful if you'd stick 
around the Casino this evening. I've got an assistant, a 
Miss Lynd, and I'd like to hand her over to you when I 
start playing. You won't be ashamed of her. She's a 
good-looking girl.' He smiled at Leiter. 'And you might 
mark his two gunmen. I can't ; imagine he'll try a 
roughhouse, but you never know. ' 



'I may be able to help,' said Leiter. 'I was a regular in 
our Marine Corps before I joined this racket, if that 
means anything to you.' He looked at Bond with a hint 
of self-deprecation. 
. 'It does,' said Bond. 

It turned out that Leiter was from Texas. While he 
talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff 
of N.A.T.O. and the difficulty of maintaining security 
in an organization where so many nationalities were 
represented, Bond reflected th^t good Americans were 
fine people and that most of them seemed to come from 

Felix Leiter was about thirty-five. He was tall with a 
thin bony frame and his lightweight, tan-coloured suit 
hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of 
Frank Sinatra. His movements and speech were slow," 
but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed 
and strength in him, and that he. would be a tough-and 
cruel fighter. As he sat hunched over the table, he 
seemed to have some of the jackknife quality of a 
falcon. There was this impression also in his face, in the 
sharpness of his chin and cheekbones and the wide wry 
mouth. His grey eyes had a feline slant which was in- 
creased by his habit of screwing them up against the 
smoke of the Chesterfields which he tapped out of the 
pack in a chain. The permanent wrinkles which this 
habit had etched at the corners gave the impression that 
he smiled more with his eyes than with his mouth. A 
mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look 
which closer examination contradicted. Although he 
seemed to talk quite openly about his duties in Paris, 
Bond soon noticed that he never spoke of his American 
colleagues in Europe or in Washington, and he guessed 
that Leiter held the interests of his own organization far 
above the mutual concerns of the North Atlantic Allies. 
Bond sympathized with him. 

By the time Leiter had swallowed another whisky and 



Bond had told him about the Muntzes and his short 
reconnaissance trip down the coast that morning, it was 
seven-thirty, and they decided to stroll over to their 
hotel together. Before leaving the Casino, Bond 
deposited his total capital of twenty-four million at the 
caisse, keeping only a few notes of ten mille as pocket- 

As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that 
a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the 
explosion. Several trees were uprooted and hoses frOm 
three municipal tank cars were washing down the 
boulevard and pavements. The bomb-crater had disap- 
peared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape. 
Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been 
carried out at the Hermitage and to the, shops and front- 
ages which had lost their windows. " 

In the warm blue dusk Royale-les-Eaux was once 
again orderly and peaceful. 

'Who's the concierge working for?' asked Leiter as 
they approached the hotel. Bond was not sure, and said 

Mathis had been unable to enlighten him, 'Unless you 
have bought him yourself,' he had said, 'you must 
assume that he has been bought by the other side. All 
concierges are venal. It is not their fault. They are 
trained to regard all hotel guests except maharajahs as 
potential cheats and thieves. They have as much concern 
for your comfort or welKbeing as crocodiles.' 

Bond remembered Mathis' s pronouncement when the 
concierge hurried up to inquire whether he had 
recovered from his most unfortunate experience of the 
afternoon. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a 
little bit shaky. He hoped that if the intelligence were 
relayed; Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that 
evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary's 
strength. The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for 
Bond's recovery. 


Letter's room was on one of the upper floors and they 
parted company at the lift after arranging to see each 
other at the Casino at around half-past ten or eleven, 
the usual hour for the high tables to begin play. 


Pink Lights and Champagne 

Bond walked up to his room, which again 
showed no sign of trespass, threw off his clothes, took a 
long hot bath followed by an ice-cold shower, and lay 
down on his bed. There remained an hour in which to 
rest and compose his thoughts before he met the girl in 
the Splendide bar, an hour to examine minutely the 
details of his plans for the game, and for after the game, 
in all the various circumstances of victory or defeat. He 
had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Letter, and 
the girl and visualize the reactions of the enemy in 
various contingencies. He closed his eyes, and his 
thoughts pursued his imagination through a series of 
carefully constructed scenes as if he were watching the 
tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. 
- At twenty minutes to nine he had exhausted all the 
permutations which might result from his duel with Le 
Chiffre. He rose and dressed, dismissing the future 
completely from his mind. 
As he tied his thin, double-ended, black satin tie, he 




paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in 
the mirror. His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a 
hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair 
which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form 
a thick comma above his right eyebrow. With the thin 
vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was 
faintly piratical. Not much of Hoagy Carmichael there, 
thought Bond, as he filled a flat, light, gun-metal box 
with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold 
band. Mathis had told him of the girl's comment. 

He slipped the case into his hip pocket and snapped 
his black oxidized Ronson to see if it needed fuel. After 
pocketing the thin sheaf of ten-mille notes, he opened a 
drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and 
slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about 
three inches below his armpit. He then took from under 
his shirts in another drawer a very flat .25 Beretta 
automatic With a skeleton grip, extracted the clip and 
the single round in the barrel and whipped the action to 
and fro several times, finally pulling the trigger on the 
empty chamber. He charged the weapon again, loaded 
it, put up the safety catch, and dropped it into the 
shallow pouch of the shoulder-holster. He looked 
carefully round the room to see if anything had been 
forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket 
coat over his heavy silk evening shirt. He felt cool and 
comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was 
absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm, 
gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the 
door and locked it. 

When he turned at the foot of the short stairs towards 
the bar, he heard the lift-door open behind him and a 
cool voice call, 'Good evening.'- 

It was the girl. She stood and waited for him to come 
up to her. 

He had remembered her beauty exactly. He was not 
surprised to be thrilled by it again. 
Her dress, was of black velvet, simple and yet with the 



touch of splendour that only half a dozen couturiers in 
the world can achieve. There was a thin necklace of 
diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low 
vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts. 
She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat oblong 
which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist. Her 
jet-black hair hung straight and simply to the final in- 
ward curl below the chin. 

She looked quite superb, and Bond's heart lifted. 

'You look absolutely lovely. Business must be good in 
the radio world!' 

She put her arm through his. 'Do you mind if we go 
straight in to dinner?' she asked. 'I want to make a 
grand entrance, and the truth is there's a horrible secret 
about black velvet. It marks when you sit down. And, 
by the way, if you hear me scream tonight, I shall have 
sat on a cane chair.' 

Bond laughed. 'Of course, let's go straight in. We'll 
have a glass of vodka while we order our dinner. ' 

She gave him an amused glance, and he corrected 
himself: 'Or a cocktail, of course, if you prefer it. The 
food here's the best in Royale.' 

For an instant he felt nettled at the touch of irony, the 
lightest shadow of a snub, with which she had met his 
decisiveness, and at the way he had risen to her quick 

But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as 
the bowing maitre d'hStel led them through the crowded 
room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the 
heads of the diners turn to look at her. 

The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the 
wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of 
a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a 
table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the 
great room. These had survived from Edwardian days 
and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with 
the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late 



As they deciphered the maze of purple ink which 
covered the double folio menu, Bond beckoned to the 
sommelier. He turned to his companion. 

'Have you decided?' 

'I would love a glass of vodka,' she said simply, and 
went back to her study of the menu. 

'A small carafe of vodka, very cold,' ordered Bond. 
He said to her abruptly: 'I can't drink the health of your 
new frock without knowing your Christian name.' 

'Vesper, ' she said. 'Vesper Lynd. ' ,. 

Bond gave her a look of inquiry. 

'It's rather abore always having to explain/but I /'was 
born in the evening, on a very stormy evening according 
to my parents. Apparently they wanted to remember it.' 
She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just 
used to it.' 

'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck 
him. 'Can I borrow it? ? He explained about the special 
Martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 
'The Vesper,' he said. 'It sounds perfect and it's very 
appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will 
now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it? ' 

'So long as I can try one first*' she promised.. 'It 
sounds a drink to be proud of.' 1 

'We'll have one together when all this is finished,' 
said Bond. 'Win or lose. And now have you decided 
what you would like to have for dinner? Please be ex- 
pensive, ' he, added as he sensed her hesitation, 'or you'll 
let down that beautiful frock.' .'-,■■•; 

'I'd made two choices,' she laughed, 'and either 
would have been delicious; but behaving like a 
millionaire occasionally is a wonderful treat, and if 
you're sure . . . well, I'd like to start with caviar and 
then have a/plain grilled rognon de veau with pommes ' 
soufflSs. And then I'd like to have fraises des bois with a 
lot of cream. Is it very shameless to be so certain and so 
expensive? ' She smiled at him inquiringly. 

'It's a virtue, and anyway' it's only a good plain 



wholesome meal.' He turned to the maitre d'hdtel. 'And 
bring plenty of toast. 

'The trouble always is,' he explained to Vesper, 'not 
how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast 
with it. 

'Now,' he turned back to the menu, 'I myself will 
accompany Mademoiselle with the caviar; but then I 
would like a very small tournedos, underdone, with 
sauce Bearnaise artd a coeur d'artichaut. While 
Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an 
avocado pear with a little French dressing. Do you ap- 

The maitred'hdtel bowed. 

'My compliments, mademoiselle and monsieur. Mon- 
sieur George . . .' He turned to the sommelier and 
repeated the two dinners for his benefit . 

'Parfait,' said the sommelier, proffering the leather- 
bound wine list. 

'If you agree,' said Bond, 'I would prefer to drink 
champagne with you tonight. It is a cheerful wine, and it 
suits the occasion — I hope,' he added. 

'Yes, I would like champagne, ' she said. 

With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the 
sommelier: 'The Taittinger 45?' 

'A fine wine, monsieur,' said the sommelier. 'But if 
Monsieur will permit,' he pointed with his pencil, 'the 
Brut Blanc de Blanc 1943 of the same marque is without 
equal.' - 

Bond smiled. 'So be it,' he said. 

"That is not a well-known brand,' Bond explained to 
his companion, 'but it is probably the finest champagne 
in the world.' He grinned suddenly at the touch of 
pretension in his remark. 

'You must forgive me,' he said. 'I take a ridiculous 
pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from 
being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot 
of trouble over details. It's very pernickety and old- 
maidish really, but then when I'm working I generally 


have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more in T 
teresting when one takes trouble.' ■ 
Vesper smiled at him. 

'I like it,' she said. 'I like doing everything fully, get- 
ting the most out of everything one does. I think that's 
the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when 
one says it, 5 she added apologetically. 

The little carafe of Vodka had arrived in its bowl of 
crushed ice, and Bond filled their glasses. 

'Well, I agree with you anyway,' he said, 'and now, 
here's luck for tonight, Vesper.' , , 

'Yes,' said the girl quietly, as she held up her small, 
glass and looked at him with a curious directness 
straight in the'eyes. 'I hope all will go well tonight. - 

She seemed to Bond to give a quick involuntary shrug 
of the shoulders as she spoke, but then she leant im- 
pulsively towards him. : 

'I have some news for you from Mathis. He was 
longing to tell you himself. It's, about the bomb: It's a 
fantastic story.' 


The Game is Baccarat 

Bond looked round; but there was no possibility 
of being overheard, and the cayiar would be waiting for 
the hot toast from the kitchens. 

'Tell me. ' His eyes glittered with interest. 

'They got the third Bulgar, on the road to Paris. He 
was in a Citroen, and he had picked up two English 
hikers as protective colouring. At the roadblock his 
French was so bad that they asked for his papers, and he 
brought out a gun and shot one of the motor-cycle 
patrol. But the other man got him, I don't know how, 
and managed to stop him committing suicide. Then they 
took him down to Rouen and extracted the story — in the 
usual French fashion, I suppose. 

'Apparently they were part of a pool held in France 
for this sort of job — saboteurs, thugs, and so on — and 
Mathis's friends are already trying to round up the rest. 
They were to get two million francs for killing you, and 
the agent who briefed them told them there was ab- 




solutely no chance of being caught if they followed his 
instructions exactly.' 

She took a sip of vodka. 'But this is the interesting 

'The agent gave them the two camera-cases you saw. 
He said the bright colours would make it easier for 
them. He told them that the blue case contained a very 
powerful smoke-bomb. The red case was the explosive. 
As one of them threw the red case the other was to press 
a switch on the blue case, and they would escape under 
cover of the smoke. In fact, the smoke-bomb was a pure 
invention to make the Bulgars think they could get 
away. Both cases contained an identical high-explosive 
bomb. There was no difference between the blue and the 
red cases. The idea was to destroy you and the bomb- 
throwers without a trace. Presumably there were other 
plans for dealing with the third man. ' 

'Go on,' said Bond, full of admiration for the 
ingenuity of the double-cross. 

'Well, apparently the Bulgars thought this sounded 
very fine, but cannily they decided to take no chances. It 
would be better, they thought, to touch off the smoke- 
bomb first and, from inside the cloud of smoke, hurl the 
explosive bomb at you. What you saw was the assistant 
bomb-thrower pressing down the lever on the phony 
smoke-bomb; and, of course, they both went up 

'The third Bulgar was waiting behind the Splendide to 
pick his two friends up. When he saw what had hapr 
pened, he assumed they had bungled. But the police 
picked up some fragments of the unexploded red bomb, 
and he was confronted with them. When he saw that 
they had been tricked and that his two friends were 
meant to be murdered with you, he started to talk. I ex- 
pect he's still talking now. But there's nothing to link all 
this with Le Chiffre. They were given the job by some 
intermediary, perhaps one of Le Chiffre's guards, and 



Le Chiffre's name means absolutely nothing to the one 
who survived.' 

She finished her story just as the waiters arrived with 
the caviarj a mound of hot toast, and small dishes con- 
taining finely chopped onion and grated hard-boiled 
egg, the white in one dish and the yolk in another. 

The caviar was heaped on to their plates, and they ate 
for a time in silence. 

After a while Bond said: 'It's very satisfactory to be a 
corpse who changes places with his murderers. For them, 
it certainly was a case of being hoist with their own 
petard. Mathis must be very pleased with the day's 
work — five of the opposition neutralized in twenty-four 
hours.' And he told her how the Muntzes had been con- 

'Incidentally,' he asked, 'how did you come to get 
mixed up in this affair? What section are you in?' 

'I'm personal assistant to Head of S,' said Vesper. 
'As it was his plan he wanted his section to have a hand 
in the operation, and he asked M. if I could go. It 
seemed only to be a liaison job, so M. said yes although 
he told my chief that you would be furious at being 
given a woman to work with.' She paused and, when 
Bond said nothing, continued: 'I had to meet Mathis in 
Paris and come down with him. I've got a friend who is 
a vendeuse with Dior, and somehow she managed to 
borrow me this and the frock I was wearing this morn- 
ing; otherwise I couldn't possibly have competed with 
all these people.' She made a gesture towards the room. 
'The office was very jealous although they didn't know 
what the job was. All they knew was that I was to work 
with a Double O. Of course you're our heroes. I was en- 

Bond frowned. 'It's not difficult to get a Double O 
number if you're prepared to kill people,' he said. 
'That's all the meaning it has. It's nothing to be par- 
ticularly proud of. I've got the corpses of a Japanese 
cipher expert in New York and a Norwegian double 



agent in Stockholm to thank for being a Double O. 
Probably quite decent people. They just got caught up 
in the gale of the world like that Yugoslav that Tito 
bumped off. It's a confusing business; but if it's one's 
profession one does what one's told. How do you like 
the grated egg with your caviar? ' 

'It's a wonderful combination,' she said. 'I'm loving 
my dinner. It seems a shame — ' She stopped, warned by 
a cold look in Bond's eye. 

'If it wasn't for the job, we wouldn't be here,' he 

Suddenly he regretted the intimacy of their dinner and 
of their talk. He felt that he had said too much and what 
was only a working relationship had become confused. 

'Let's consider what has to be done,' he said in a 
matter-of-fact voice. 'I'd better explain what I'm going 
to try and do, and how you can help. Which isn't very 
much, I'm afraid,' he added. 'Now these are the basic 
facts.' He proceeded to sketch out the plan and 
enumerate the various contingencies which faced them. 

The maltre d'hdtel surpervised the serving of the 
second course, and then as they ate the delicious food 
Bond continued. 

She listened to him coldly, but with attentive obedi- 
ence. She- felt thoroughly deflated by his harshness, 
while admitting to herself that she should have paid 
more heed to the warnings of Head of S. 

'He's a dedicated man,' her chief had said when he 
gave her the assignment. 'Don't imagine this is going to 
be any fun. He thinks of nothing but the job on hand 
and, while it's on, he's absolute hell to work for. But 
he's an expert, and there aren't many about; so you 
won't be wasting your time. He's a good-looking 
chap— but don't fall for him. I don't think he's got 
much heart. Anyway, good luck, and don't get hurt. ' 

All this had been something of a challenge, and she 
was pleased when she felt she attracted and interested 
him, as she knew intuitively that she did. Then at a hint 



that they were finding pleasure together, a hint that was 
only the first words of a conventional phrase, he had 
suddenly turned to ice and had brutally veered away as 
if warmth were poison to him. She felt hurt and foolish. 
Then she gave a mental shrug and concentrated with all 
her attention on what he was saying. She would not 
make the same mistake again. 

' . . . and the main hope is to pray for a run of luck for 
me, or against him.' 

Bond was explaining just how baccarat is played. 

'It's much the same as any other gambling game. The 
odds against the banker and the player are more or less 
even. Only a run against either can be decisive and 
' 'break the bank, ' ' or break the players. 

• 'Tonight, Le Chiffre, we know, has bought the bac- 
carat bank from the Egyptian syndicate which is run- 
ning the high tables here. He paid a million francs for it, 
and his capital has'been reduced to twenty-four million. 
I have about the same. There will be ten players, I ex- 
pect, and we sit round the banker at a kidney-shaped 

'Generally, this table is divided into two tableaux. 
The banker plays two games, one against each of the 
tableaux to left and right of him. In that game, the 
banker should be able to win by playing off one tableau 
against the other and by first-class accountancy. But 
there aren't enough baccarat players yet at Royale, and 
Le Chiffre is just going to pit his luck against the other 
players at the single tableau. It's , unusual because the 
odds in favour of the banker aren't so good; but they're 
a shade in his favour and, of course, he has control of 
the size of the stakes. 

'Well, the banker sits there in the middle with a 
croupier to rake in the cards and call the amount of each 
bank and a chef de partie to umpire the game generally. 
I shall be sitting as near dead opposite Le Chiffre as I 
can get. In front of him he has a shoe containing six 
packs of cards, well shuffled. There's absolutely no 



chance of tampering with the shoe. The cards are shuf- 
fled by the croupier and cut bygone of the players and 
put into the shoe in full view of the table. We've 
checked on the staff, and they're all okay. It would be 
useful, but almost impossible, to mark all the cards, and 
it would mean the connivance at least of the croupier. 
Anyway, we shall be watching for that too. ' 

•Bond drank some champagne and continued. 

'Now what happens at the game is this. The banker 
announces an opening bank of five hundred thousand 
francs, or five hundred pounds as it is now. Each seat is 
numbered from the right of the banker, and the player 
next to the banker, or Number 1, can accept this bet and 
push his money out on to the table, or pass it if it is too 
much or he doesn't want to take it. Then Number 2 has 
the right to take it; and if he refuses then Number 3, and 
so on round the table. If no single player takes it all, the 
bet is offered to the table as a whole and everyone chips 
in, including sometimes the spectators round the table, 
until the five hundred thousand is made up. 

'That is a small bet which would immediately be met, 
but when it gets to a million or two, it's often difficult to 
find a taker or even, if the bank seems to be in luck, a 
group of takers to cover the bet. At that moment I shall 
always try and step in and accept the bet— in fact, I shall 
attack Le Chiffre's bank whenever I get a chance until 
either I've bust his bank or he's bust me. It may take 
some time, but in the end one of us two is bound to 
break the other, irrespective of the other players at the 
table, although they can, of course, make him richer or 
poorer in the meantime. 

'Being the banker, he's got a slight advantage in the 
play; but knowing that I'm making a dead set at him 
and now knowing, I hope, my capital, is bound to play 
on his nerves a bit, so I'm hoping that we start about 

He paused while the strawberries came, and the 
avocado pear. 



For a while they ate in silence, then they talked of 
other things while the coffee was served. They smoked. 
Neither of them drank brandy or a liqueur. Finally, 
Bond felt it was time to explain the actual mechanics of 
the game. 

'It's a simple affair,' he said, 'and you'll understand 
it at once if you've ever played vingt-et-un, where the 
object is to get cards from the banker which add up 
more closely to a count of twenty-one than his do. In 
this game I get two cards and the banker gets two; and, 
unless anyone wins outright, either or both of us can get 
one more card. The object of the game is to hold two, or 
three cards which together count nine points, Or as 
nearly nine as possible. Court cards and tens count 
nothing; aces one each; any other card its face value. It 
is only the last figure of your count that signifies. So 
nine plus seven equals six — not sixteen. 

'The winner is the one whose count, is nearest to nine. 
Draws are played over again.' 

Vesper listened attentively, but she also watched the 
look of abstract passion on Bond's face. 

'Now,' Bond continued, 'when the banker deals me 
my two cards, if they add up to eight or nine, they're a 
"natural" and I turn them up and I win, unless he has 
an equal or a better natural. If I haven't got a natural, I 
can stand on a seven or a six, perhaps ask for a card or 
perhaps not, on a five, and certainly ask for a card if my 
count is lower than five. Five is the turning point of the 
game. According to the odds, the chance of bettering or 
worsening your hand if you hold a five are exactly even. 

'Only when I ask for a card or tap mine to signify that 
I stand on what I have, can the banker look at his. If he 
has a natural, he turns them up and wins. Otherwise he 
is faced with the same problems as I was. But he is 
helped in his decision to draw or not to draw a card by 
my actions. If I have stood he must assume that I have a 
five, six, or seven: if I have drawn, he will know that I 
had something less than a six and I may have improved 



my hand or not with the card he gave me. And this card 
was dealt to me face up. On its face value and a 
knowledge of the odds, he will know whether to take 
another card or to stand on his own. 

'So he has a very slight advantage over me. He has a 
tiny help over his decision to draw or to stand. But there 
is always one problem card at this game: Shall one draw 
or stand on a five, and what will your opponent do with 
a five? Some players always draw or always stand,. I 
follow my intuition. '...',■!' 

'But in the end' — Bond stubbed out his cigarette and 
called for the bill — 'it's the natural eights and nines that 
matter, and I must just see that I get more of them than 
he does.' 


The High Table 

While telling the story of the game and an- 
ticipating the coming fight, Bond's face had lit up 
again. The prospect of at last getting to grips with 
Le Chiffre stimulated him and quickened his pulse. He 
seemed to have completely forgotten the brief coolness 
between them, and Vesper was relieved and entered into 
his mood. 

He paid the bill and gave a handsome tip to the som- 
melier. Vesper rose and led the way out of the restaurant 
and out on to the steps of the hotel. 

The big Bentley was waiting and Bond drove Vesper 
over, parking as close to the entrance as he could. As 
they walked through the ornate anterooms, he hardly 
spoke. She looked at him and saw that his nostrils were , 
slightly flared. In other respects he seemed completely at 
ease, acknowledging cheerfully the greetings of the 
Casino functionaries. At the door to the salle privee 
they were not asked for their membership cards. Bond's 
high gambling had already made him a favoured client, 




and any companion of his shared in the glory. 

Before they had penetrated very far into the main 
room, Felix Leiter detached himself from one of the 
roulette tables and greeted Bond as an old friend., After 
being introduced to Vesper Lynd and exchanging a few 
remarks, Leiter said: 'Well, since you're playing bac- 
carat this evening, will you allow me to show Miss Lynd 
how to break the bank at roulette? I've got three lucky 
numbers that are bound to show soon, and I expect Miss 
Lynd has some too. Then perhaps we could come and 
watch you when your game starts to warm up. ' 

Bond looked inquiringly at Vesper. 

'I should love that,' she said. 'But will you give me 
one of your lucky numbers to play on? ' 

'I have no lucky numbers,' said Bond unsmilingly. 'I 
only bet on even chances, or as near them as I can get. 
Well, I shall leave you then.' He excused himself. 'You 
will be in excellent hands with .my friend Felix Leiter. ' 
He gave a short smile which' embraced them both and 
walked with an unhurried gait towards the caisse. 

Leiter sensed the rebuff, 

'He's a very serious gambler, Miss Lynd,' he said. 
'And I guess he has to be. Now come with me and watch 
Number 17 obey my extrasensory perceptions. You'll 
find it quite a painless sensation being given plenty of 
money for nothing. ' 

Bond was relieved to be on his own again and tq be 
able to clear his mind of everything but the task on 
hand. He stood at the caisse and took his twenty-four 
million francs against the receipt which had been given 
him that afternoon. He divided the notes into equal , 
packets and put half the sum into his right-hand coat 
pocket and the other half into the left. Then he strolled 
slowly across the room between the thronged tables 
until he came to the top of the room where the broad 
baccarat table waited behind the brass rail. 

The table was filling up, and the cards were spread 
face down, being stirred and mixed slowly in what is 



known as the 'croupiers' shuffle' — supposedly the 
shuffle which is most effective and least susceptible to 

The chef de partie lifted the velvet-covered chain 
which allowed entrance through the brass rail. 

'I've kept Number 6 as you wished, Monsieur Bond.' 

There were still three other empty places at the table. 
Bond moved inside the rail to which a huissier was 
holding out his chair. He sat down with a nod to the 
players on his right and left. He took out his wide gun- 
metal cigarette case and his black lighter and placed 
them on the green baize at his right elbow. The huissier 
wiped a thick glass ashtray with a cloth and put it beside 
them. Bond lit a cigarette and leant back in his chair. 

Opposite him, the banker's chair was vacant. He 
glanced round the table. He knew most of the players by 
sight, but, few of their names. At Number 7, on his 
right, there was a Monsieur Sixte, a wealthy Belgian 
with metal interests in the Congo. At Number 9 there 
was Lord Danvers, a distinguished but weak-looking 
man whose francs were presumably provided by his rich 
American wife, a middle-aged woman with the 
predatory mouth of a barracuda, who sat at Number 3 . 
Bond reflected that they would probably play a pawky 
and nervous game and be amongst the early casualties. 
At Number 1 , to the right of the bank, was a well- 
known Greek gambler who owned, as in Bond's ex- 
perience apparently everyone does in the eastern 
Mediterranean, a profitable shipping line. He would 
play coldly and well and would be a stayer. 

Bond asked the huissier for a card and wrote on it, 
under a neat question mark, the remaining numbers, 2, 
4, 5, 8, 10, and asked the huissier to give it to the chef de 

Soon it came back with the names filled in. 
Number 2, still empty, was to be Carmel Delane, the 
American film star with alimony from three husbands 


to burn and, Bond assumed, a call on still more from 
whoever her present companion at Royale might be. 
With her sanguine temperament she would play gaily 
and with panache and might run into a vein of luck. 

Then came Lady Danvers at Number 3 and Numbers 
4 and 5 were a Mr. and Mrs. Du Pont, rich-looking, 
who might or might not have some of the real Du Pont 
money behind them. Bond guessed they would be 
stayers. They both had a businesslike look about them 
and were talking together easily and cheerfully as if they 
felt very much at home at the big game. Bond was quite 
happy to have them next to him— Mrs. Du 1 Pont sat at 
Number 5— and he felt prepared to share with them or 
with Monsieur Sixte on his right, if they found them- 
selves faced with too big a bank. 

At Number 8 was the Maharajah of a small Indian 
state, probably with all his wartime sterling balances to 
play with. Bond's experience told him that few of the 
Asiatic races were courageous gamblers, even the much- 
vaunted Chinese being inclined to lose heart if the going 
was bad. But the Maharajah would probably stay late in 
the game and stand some heavy losses if they were 

Number 10 was a prosperous-looking young Italian, 
Signor Tomelli, who possibly had plenty of money from 
rack-rents in Milan and would probably play a dashing 
and foolish game. He might lose his temper and make a 

Bond had just finished his sketchy summing-up of the 
players when Le Chiffre, with the silence and economy 
of movement of a big fish, came through the opening in 
the brass rail and, with a cold smile of welcome for the 
table, took his place directly opposite Bond in the 
Banker's chair. 

With the same economy of movement, he cut the 
thick slab of cards, which the croupier had placed on the 
table squarely between his blunt relaxed hands. Then, as 



the croupier fitted the six packs with one swift motion 
into the metal and wooden shoe, Le Chiffre said 
something quietly to him. 

'Messieurs, mesdames, les jeux sont faits, Un banco 
de cinq cent mille.' And, as the Greek at Number 1 
tapped the table in front of his fat pile of hundred-mille 
plaques: 'Le banco est fait.' 

Le Chiffre crouched over the shoe. He gave it a short 
deliberate slap to settle the cards, the first of which 
showed its semicircular pale pink tongue through the 
slanting aluminum mouth of the shoe. Then, with a 
thick white forefinger he pressed gently on the pink 
tongue and slipped out the first card six inches or a foot 
towards the Greek on his right hand. Then he slipped 
out a card for himself, then another for the Greek, then 
one more for himself. 

He sat immobile, not touching his own cards. 

He looked at the Greek's face. 

With his flat wooden spatula, like a long bricklayer's 
trowel, the croupier delicately lifted up the Greek's two 
cards and dropped them with a quick movement an 
extra few inches to the right so that they lay just before 
the Greek's pale hairy hands, which lay inert like two 
watchful pink crabs on the table. 

The two pink crabs scuttled out together and the 
Greek gathered the cards into his wide left hand and 
cautiously bent his head so that he could see, in the 
shadow made by his cupped hand, the value of the 
bottom of the two cards. Then he slowly inserted the 
forefinger of his right hand and slipped the bottom card 
slightly sideways so that the value of the top card was 
also just perceptible. 

His face was quite impassive. He flattened out his left 
hand on the table and then withdrew it, leaving the two 
pink cards face down before him, their secret 

Then he lifted his head and looked Le Chiffre in the 



'Non,' said the Greek flatly. 

From the decision to stand on his two cards and not 
to ask for another, it was clear that the Greek had a five, 
or a six, or a seven. To be certain Of winning, the bank 
had to reveal an eight or a nine. If the banker failed to 
show either figure, he also had the right to take another 
card which might or might not improve his count. 

Le Chiffre's hands were clasped in front of him, his 
two cards three or four inches away. With his right hand 
he picked up the two cards and turned them face up- 
wards on the table with a faint snap. 

They were a four and a five, an uhdef eatable natural 

He had won. 

'Neuf a la banque,' quietly said the croupier. With his 
spatula he faced the Greek's two cards, 'Et le sept,' he 
said unemotionally, lifting up gently the corpses of the 
seven and queen and slipping them through the wide slot 
in the table near his chair which leads into the big metal 
canister to which all dead cards are consigned. Le 
Chiffre's two cards followed them with the faint rattle 
which comes from the canister at the beginning of each 
session before the discards have made a cushion over the 
metal floor of their oubliette. 

The Greek pushed forward five plaques of one 
hundred thousand, and the coupier added these to 
Le Chiffre's half-million plaque which lay in the centre 
of the table. From each bet the Casino takes a tiny per- 
centage, the cagnotte; but it is usual at a big game for 
the banker to subscribe this himself either in a pre- 
arranged lump sum or by contributions at the end of 
each hand, so that the amount of the bank's stake can 
always be a round figure. Le Chiffre had chosen the 
second course. 

The croupier slipped some counters through the slot 
in the table which receives the cagnotte and announced 

'Un banco d'un million.' 



'Suivi,' murmured the Greek, meaning that he exer- 
cised his right to follow up his lost bet. 

Bond lit a cigarette and settled himself in his chair. 
The long game was launched, and the sequence of these 
gestures and the reiteration of this subdued litany would 
continue until the end came and the players dispersed. 
Then the enigmatic cards would be burnt or defaced, a 
shroud would be draped over the table, and the grass- 
green baize battlefield would soak up the blood of its 
victims and refresh itself. 

The Greek, after taking a third card, could achieve no 
better than a four to the bank's seven. 

'Un banco dedeux millions,' said the coupier. 

The players on Bond's left remained silent. 

'Banco,' said Bond. 



Moment of Truth 

Le Chiffre looked incuriously at him, the whites 
of his eyes, which showed all round the irises, lending 
something impassive and doll-like to his gaze. 

He slowly removed one thick hand from the table and 
slipped it into the pocket of his dinner-jacket. The hand 
came out holding a small metal cylinder with a cap 
which Le Chiffre unscrewed. He inserted the nozzle of 
the cylinder, with an obscene deliberation, twice into 
each black nostril in turn, and luxuriously inhaled the 
benzedrine vapour. 

Unhurriedly he pocketed the inhaler; then his hand 
came quickly back, above the level of . the table and gave 
the shoe its usual hard, sharp slap. 

During this offensive pantomime Bond had coldly 
held the banker's gaze, taking in the wide expanse of 
white face surmounted by the short abrupt cliff of red- 
dish brown hair, the unsmiling wet red mouth, and the 




impressive width of the shoulders, loosely draped in a 
massively cut dinner-jacket. 

But for the high-lights on the satin of the shawl-cut 
lapels, he might have been faced by the thick bust of a 
black-fleeced Minotaur rising out of a green grass field. 

Bond slipped a packet of notes on to the table without 
counting them. If he lost, the croupier would extract 
what was necessary to cover the bet; but the easy gesture 
conveyed that Bond didn't expect to lose, and that this 
was only a token display from the deep funds at Bond's 

The other players sensed a tension between the two 
gamblers, and there was a silence as Le Chiffre fingered 
the four cards out of the shoe. 

The croupier slipped Bond's two cards across to him 
with the tip of his spatula. Bond, still with his eyes 
holding Le Chiffre's, reached his right hand out a few 
inches, glanced down very swiftly, then as he looked up 
again impassively at Le Chiffre, with a disdainful 
gesture he tossed the cards face upwards on the table. 

They were a four and a five-^an unbeatable nine. 

There was a little gasp of envy from the table, and the 
players to the left of Bond exchanged rueful glances at 
their failure to accept the two-million-franc bet. 

With the hint of a shrug, Le Chiffre slowly faced his 
own two cards and flicked them away with his finger- 
nail. They were two valueless knaves. 

'Le baccarat,' intoned the croupier as he spaded the 
thick chips over the table to Bond . 

Bond slipped them into his right-hand pocket with the 
unused packet of notes. His face showed no emotion, 
but he was pleased with the success of his first coup and 
with the outcome of the silent clash of wills across the : 

The woman on his left, the American Mrs. Du Pont, 
turned to him with a wry smile. 

'I shouldn't have let it come to you,' she said. 'Di- 



rectly the cards were dealt I kicked myself. ' 

'It's only the beginning of the game/ said Bond. 'You 
may be right the next time you pass it. ' 

Mr. Du Pont leant forward from the other side of his 
wife: 'If one could be right every hand, none of us 
would be here, ' he said philosophically. 

'I would be,' his wife laughed. 'You don't think I do 
this for pleasure.' 

As the game went on, Bond looked over the spec- 
tators leaning on the high brass rail round the table. He 
soon saw Le Chiffre's two gunmen. They stood behind 
and to either side of the banker. They looked respect- 
able enough, but not sufficiently a part of the game to 
be unobtrusive, 1 

The one more or less behind Le Chiffre's right arm 
was tall and funereal in his dinner-jacket. His face was 
wooden and grey, but his eyes flickered and gleamed 
like a conjurer's. His whole long body was restless, and 
his hands shifted often on the brass rail. Bond guessed 
that he would kill without interest or concern for what 
he killed, and that he would prefer strangling. He had 
something of Lennie in Of Mice and Men, but his 
inhumanity would not come from infantilism but from 
drugs. Marihuana, decided Bond. 

The other man looked like a Corsican shopkeeper. He 
was short and very dark with a flat head covered with 
thickly greased hair. He seemed to be a cripple. A 
chunky Malacca cane with a rubber tip hung on a rail 
beside him. He must have had permission to bring the 
cane into the Casino with him, reflected Bond, who 
knew that neither sticks nor any other objects were 
allowed in the rooms as a precaution against acts of 
violence. He looked sleek and well fed. His mouth hung 
vacantly half open and revealed very bad teeth. He wore 
a heavy black moustache, and the backs of his hands on 
the rail were matted with black hair. Bond guessed that 
hair covered most of his squat body. Naked, Bond sup- 



posed, he would be an obscene object. 

The game continued uneventfully, but with a slight 
bias against the bank. 

The third coup is the 'sound barrier' at chemin-de-fer 
and baccarat. Your luck can defeat the first and second 
tests, but when the third deal comes along it most often 
spells disaster. Again and again at this point you find 
yourself being bounced back to earth. It was like that 
now. Neither the bank nor any of the players seemed to 
be able to get hot. But there was a steady and inexorable 
seepage against the bank, amounting after about two 
hours' play to ten million francs. Bond had no idea 
what profits Le Chiffre had made over the past two 
days. He estimated them at five million and guessed that 
now the banker's capital could not be more than twenty 

In fact, Le Chiffre had lost heavily all that afternoon. 
At this moment he only had ten million left. 

Bond, on the other hand, by one o'clock in the morn- 
ing, had; won four million, bringing his resources up to 
twenty-eight million. 

Bond was cautiously pleased. Le Chiffre showed no 
trace of emotion. He continued to play like an 
automaton, never speaking except when he gave in- 
structions in a low aside to the croupier at the opening 
of each new bank. 

Outside the pool of silence round the high table, there 
was the constant hum of the other tables, chemin-de- - 
fer, roulette, and trente-et-quarante, interspersed with 
the clear calls of the croupiers and occasional bursts of 
laughter or gasps of excitement from different corners 
of the huge salle. 

In the background there thudded always the hidden 
metronome of the Casino, ticking up its little treasure of 
one-per-cents with each spin of a wheel and each turn of 
a card — a pulsing fat-cat with a zero for a heart. 

It was at ten minutes past one by Bond's watch that, 



at the high table, the" whole pattern of play suddenly 

The Greek at Number 1 was still having a bad time. 
He had lost the first coup of half a million francs and 
the second. He passed the third time, leaving a bank of 
two millions. Carmel Delane at Number 2 refused it. So 
did Lady Danvers at Number 3. 

The Du Ponts looked at each other. 

'Banco,' said Mrs. Du Pont, and promptly lost to the 
banker's natural eight. 

'Un banco de quatre millions, ' said the croupier. 

'Banco,' said Bond, pushing out a wad of notes. 

Again he fixed Le Chiffre with his eye. Again he gave 
only a cursory look at his two cards . 

'No,' he said. He held a marginal five. The position 
was dangerous. 

Le Chiffre turned up a knave and a four. He gave the 
shoe another slap. He drew a three. 

'Sept a la banque,' said the croupier, 'et cinq,' he 
added as he tipped Bond's losing cards face upwards. 
He raked over Bond's money, extracted four million 
francs and returned the remainder to Bond. 

'Un banco de huit millions.' 

'Suivi,' said Bond. 

And lost again, to a natural nine. 

In two coups he had lost twelve million francs. By 
scrapping the barrel, he had just sixteen million francs 
left,' exactly the amount of the next banco. 

Suddenly Bond felt the sweat on his palms. Like snow 
in sunshine his capital had melted. With the covetous 
deliberation of the winning gambler, Le Chiffre was 
tapping a light tattoo on the table with his right hand. 
Bond looked across into the eyes of murky basalt. They 
held an ironical question. 'Do you want the full treat- 
ment?' they seemed to ask. 

'Suivi,' Bond said softly. 

He took some notes and plaques out of his right-hand 



pocket and the entire stack of notes out of his left and 
pushed them forward. There was no hint in his 
movements that this would be his last stake. 

His mouth felt suddenly as dry as flock wall-paper. 
He looked up and saw Vesper and Felix Leiter standing 
where the gunman with the stick had stood. He did not 
know how long they had been standing there. Leiter 
looked faintly worried, but Vesper smiled en- ' 
couragement at him.. 

He heard a faint rattle on the rail behind him and 
turned his head. The battery of bad teeth under the 
black moustache gaped vacantly back at him. 

'Le jeu est fait,' said the croupier, and the two cards 
came slithering towards him over the green baize — a 
green baize which was no longer smooth, but thick now, 
and furry and almost choking^ its colour as livid as the 
grass on a fresh tomb. 

The light from the broad satin-lined shades which had 
seemed so welcoming now seemed to take the colour out 
of his hand as he glanced at the cards. Then he looked 

It was nearly as bad as it could have been — the king of 
hearts and an ace, the ace of spades. It squinted up at 
him like a black widow spider. 

'A card.' He still kept all emotion out of his voice. 

Le Chiffre faced his own two cards. He had a queen 
and a black five. He looked at Bond and pressed out 
another card with a wide forefinger. The table was ab- 
solutely silent. He faced it and flicked it away. The 
croupier lifted it delicately with his spatula and slipped 
it over to Bond. It was a good card, the five of hearts, 
but to Bond it was a difficult fingerprint in dried blood. 
He now had a count of six and Le Chiffre a count of 
five, but the banker having a five and giving a five, 
would and must draw another card and try and improve 
with a one, two, three, or four. Drawing any other card 
he would be defeated. 



The odds were on Bond's side, but now it was Le 
Chiffre who looked across into Bond's eyes and hardly 
glanced at the card as he flicked it face upwards on the 

It was, unnecessarily, the best, a four, giving the bank 
a count of nine. He had won, almost slowing up. 
Bond was beaten and cleaned out. 


The Deadly Tube 

Bond sat silent, frozen with defeat. He opened 
his wide black case and took out a cigarette. He snapped 
open the tiny jaws of the Ronson and lit the cigarette 
and put the lighter back on the table. He took a deep 
lungful of smoke and expelled it between his teeth with a 
faint hiss. 

What now? Back to the hotel and bed, avoiding the 
commiserating eyes of Mathis and Leiter and Vesper: 
Back to the telephone call to London, and then 
tomorrow the plane home, the taxi up to Regent's Park, 
the walk up the .stairs and along the corridor, and M.'s 
cold face across the table, his forced sympathy, his 
'Better luck next time'; and, of course, there couldn't be 
one, not another.chance like this. 

He looked round the table and up at the spectators. 
Few were looking at him. They were waiting while the 
croupier counted the money and piled up the chips in a 
neat stack in front of the banker, waiting to see if 
anyone would conceivably challenge this huge bank of 




thirty-two million francs, this wonderful run of 
banker's luck. 

Leiter had vanished, not wishing to look Bond in the 
eye after the knock-out, he supposed. Yet Vesper 
looked curiously unmoved, she gave him a smile of en- 
couragement. But then, Bond reflected, she knew 
nothing of the game. Had no notion, probably, of the 
bitterness of his defeat. 

The huissier was coming towards Bond inside the rail. 
He stopped beside him. Bent over him. Placed a squat 
envelope beside Bond on the table. It was as thick as a 
dictionary. Said something about the caisse. Moved 
away again. 

Bond's heart thumped. He took the heavy 
anonymous envelope below the level of the table and slit 
it open with his thumbnail, noticing that the gum was 
still wet on the flap. 

Unbelieving and yet knowing it was true, he felt the 
broad wads of notes. He slipped them into his pockets, 
retaining the half-sheet of notepaper which was pinned 
to the topmost of them. He glanced at it in the shadow 
below the table. There was one line of writing in ink: 
'Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the 
compliments of the U.S.A.' 

Bond swallowed. He looked over towards Vesper. 
Felix Leiter was again standing beside her. He grinned 
slightly, and Bond smiled back and raised his hand from 
the table in a small gesture of benediction. Then he set 
his mind to sweeping away all traces of the sense of 
complete defeat which had swamped him a few minutes 
before. This was a reprieve, but only a reprieve. There 
could be no more miracles. This time he had to win— if 
Le Chif fre had not already made his fifty million — if he 
was going to go on! 

The croupier had completed his task of computing the 
cagnotte, changing Bond's notes into plaques, and 
making a pile of the giant stake in the middle of the 



There lay thirty-two thousand pounds. Perhaps, 
thought Bond, Le Chiffre needed just one more coup, 
even a minor one of a few million francs, to achieve his 
object. Then he would have made his fifty million 
francs and would leave the table. By tomorrow his 
deficits would be covered and his position secure. 
. He showed no signs of moving, and Bond guessed 
with relief that somehow he must have overestimated Le 
Chiffre' s resources. 

Then the only hope, thought Bond, was to stamp on 
him how. Not to share the bank with the table, or to 
take some minor r part of it, but to go the whole hog. 
This would really jolt Le Chiffre. He would hate to see 
more than ten or fifteen million of the stake covered, 
and he could not possibly expect anyone to banco the 
entire thirty-two millions. He might not know that Bond 
had been cleaned out, but he must imagine that Bond 
had by now only small reserves. He could not know of 
the contents of the envelope. If he did, he would 
probably withdraw the bank and start all over again on 
the wearisome journey up from the five hundred franc 
opening bet. 

The analysis was right. ! 
Le Chiffre needed another eight million. 
At last he nodded. 
'Un banco de trente-deux millions.' 
The croupier's voice rang out. A silence built itself up 
round the table. 

. 'Un banco de trente-deux millions. ' / 

In a louder, prouder voice the chef de partie took up 
the cry, hoping to draw big money away from the neigh- 
bouring chemin-de-fer tables. Besides, this was won- 
derful publicity. The stake had only once been reached 
in the history of baccarat — at Deauville in 1950. The, 
rival Casino de la ForSt at Le Touquet had never got 
near it. 

It was then that Bond leant slightly forward. 
'Suivi,' he said quietly. 


There was an excited buzz round the table. The word 
ran through the Casino. People crowded in. Thirty-two 
million! For most of them it was more than they had 
earned all their lives. It was their savings and the savings 
of their families. It was, literally, a small fortune. 

One of the Casino directors consulted with the chef de 
partie. The chef de partie turned apologetically to Bond. 

'Excusezmoi, monsieur. La mise?' 
,. It was an indication that Bond really must show he 
had the money to coyer the bet. They knew, of course, 
that he was a very wealthy man, but after all, thirty-two 
millions! And it sometimes happened that desperate 
people would bet without a sou in the world and cheer- 
fully go to prison if they lost. 

'Mes excuses, Monsieur Bond,' added the chef de 
partie obsequiously. 

It was when Bond shovelled the great wad of notes 
out on to the table and the croupier busied himself with 
the task of counting the pinned sheaves of ten thousand 
franc notes, the largest denomination issued in France, 
that he caught a swift exchange of glances between Le 
Chiffre and the gunman standing directly behind Bond. 

Immediately he felt something hard press into the 
base of his spine, right into the cleft between his two 
buttocks on the padded chair. 

At the same time a thick voice speaking southern 
French said softly, urgently, just behind his right ear: 

'This is a gun, monsieur. It is absolutely silent. It can 
blow the base of your spine off without a sound. You 
will appear to have fainted. I shall be gone. Withdraw 
your bet before I count ten. If you call for help I shall 

The voice Was confident. Bond believed it. These 
people had shown they would unhesitatingly go the 
limit. The thick walking stick was explained. Bond knew 
the type of gun. The barrel a series of soft rubber baffles 
which absorbed the detonation, but allowed the passage 
of the bullet. They had been invented and used in the 




war for assassinations. Bond had tested them himself. 
'Un,' said the voice. 

Bond turned his head. There was the man, leaning 
forward close behind him, smiling broadly under his 
black moustache as if he were wishing Bond luck, com- 
pletely secure in the noise and the crowd. 

The discoloured teeth came together. 'Deux,' said the 
grinning mouth. 

Bond looked across. Le Chiffre was watching him. 
His eyes glittered back at Bond. His mouth was open, 
and he was breathing fast. He was waiting, waiting for 
Bond's hand to gesture to the croupier, or else for Bond 
suddenly to slump backwards in his chair, his face 
grimacing with a scream. 


Bond looked over at Vesper and Felix Leiter. They 
were smiling and talking to each other. The fools. 
Where was Mathis? Where were those famous men of 


And the other spectators. This crowd of jabbering 
idiots. Couldn't someone see what was happening? The 
chef de partie, the croupier, the huissier? 


The croupier was tidying up the pile of notes. The 
chef de partie bowed smilingly towards Bond. Directly 
the stake was in order he would announce, 'Le jeux est 
fait,' and the gun would fire whether the gunman had 
reached ten or not. 


Bond decided. It was a chance. He carefully moved 
his hands to the edge of the table, gripped it, edged his 
buttocks right back, feeling the sharp gun-sight grind 
into his coccyx. 


The chef de partie turned to Le Chiffre with his 
eyebrows lifted, waiting for the banker's nod that he 
was ready to play. 



Suddenly Bond heaved backwards with all his 
strength. His momentum tipped the crossbar of the 
chair-back down so quickly that it cracked across the 
Malacca tube and wrenched it from the gunman's hand 
before he could pull the trigger. 

Bond went head-over-heels on to the ground amongst 
the spectators' feet, his legs in the air. The back of the 
chair splintered with the sharp crack. There were cries 
of dismay. The spectators cringed away and then, 
reassured, clustered back. Hands helped him to his feet 
and brushed him down. The huissier bustled up with the 
chef de partie. At all costs a scandal must be avoided. 

Bond held on to the brass rail. He looked confused 
and embarrassed. He brushed his hand across his 
forehead. 'A momentary faintness,' he said. 'It is 
nothing — the excitement, the heat. ' 

There were expressions of sympathy. Naturally, with 
this tremendous game. Would Monsieur prefer to with- 
draw, to lie down, to go home? Should a doctor be 

Bond shook his head. He was perfectly all right now. 
His excuses to the table. To the banker also. 

A new chair was brought and he sat down. He looked 
across at Le Chiffre. Through his relief at being alive, 
he felt a moment of triumph at what he saw— some fear 
in the fat, pale face. 

There was a buzz of speculation round the table. 
Bond's neighbours on both sides of him bent forward 
and spokefsolicitously about the heat and the lateness of 
the hour and the smoke and the lack of ain * 
V Bond replied politely. He turned to examine the 
crowd behind him. There was no trace of the gunman, 
but the huissier was looking for someone to claim the 
Malacca stick. It seemed undamaged. But it no longer 
carried a rubber tip. Bond beckoned to him. 

'If you will give it to that gentleman over there' — he 
indicated Felix Leiter— 'he will return it. It belongs to 
an acquaintance of his.' 



The huissier bowed. 

Bond grimly reflected that a short examination would 
reveal to Leiter why he had made such an embarrassing 
public display of himself. 

He turned back to the table and tapped the green 
cloth in front of him to show that he was ready. 


'A Whisper of Love, 
A Whisper of Hate' 

'La Partie continue,' announced the chef im- 
pressively, 'tin banco de trente-deux millions. ' ' 

The spectators craned forward. Le Chiffre hit the 
shoe with a flat-handed slap that made it rattle. As an 
afterthought he took out his benzedrine inhaler and 
sucked the vapour up his nose. '■<•"■• 

'Filthy brute,' said Mrs. Du Pont on Bond's left. 

Bond's mind was clear again. By a miracle he had sur- 
vived a devastating wound. He could feel his armpits 
still wet with the fear of it. But the success of his gambit 
with the chair had wiped out all memories of the dread- 
ful valley of defeat through which he had just passed. 

He had made a fool of himself. The game had been 
interrupted for at least ten minutes, a delay unheard of • 
in a respectable casino, but now cards were waiting for 
him in the shoe. They must not fail him. He felt his 
heart lift at the prospect of what was to come, 

It was two o'clock in the morning. Apart from the 
thick crowd round the big game, play was still going on 




at three of the chemin-de-fer games and at the same 
number of roulette tables. 

In the silence round his own table, Bond suddenly 
heard a distant croupier intone: 'Neuf . Le rouge gagne, 
impair et manque.' 

Was this an omen for him or for Le Chiffre? 

The two cards slithered towards him across the green 

Like an octopus under a rock, Le Chiffre watched 
him from the other side of the table. 

Bond reached out a steady right hand and drew the 
cards towards him. Would it be the lift of the heart 
which a nine brings, or an eight brings? 

He fanned the two cards under the curtain of his 
hand. The. muscles of his jaw rippled as he clenched his 
teeth. His whole body stiffened in a reflex of self- 

He had two queens, two red queens. 

They looked rougishly back at him from the shadows. 
They were the worst. They were nothing. Zero. Bac- 

'A card, ' said Bond, fighting to keep hopelessness out 
of his voice. He felt Le Chiffre' s eyes boring into his 

The banker slowly turned his own two cards face up. 

He had a count of three — a king and a black three. 

Bond softly exhaled a cloud of tobacco smoke. He 
still had a chance. Now he was really faced with the 
moment of truth. Le Chiffre slapped the shoe, slipped 
out a card, Bond's card, Bond's fate, and slowly turned 
it face up. 

It was a nine, a wonderful nine of hearts — the card 
known in gipsy magic as 'a whisper of love, a whisper of 
hate,' the card that meant almost certain victory for 

The croupier slipped it delicately across. To 
Le Chiffre it meant nothing. Bond might have had a 
one, in which case he now had ten points, or nothing, or 


baccarat, as it is called. Or he might have had a two, 
three, four, or even five. In which case, with nine, his 
maximum count would be four. 

Holding a three and giving a nine is one of the moot 
situations at the game. The odds are so nearly divided 
between to draw or not to draw. Bond let the banker 
sweat it out. Since his nine could only be equalled by the 
banker drawing a six, he would normally have shown 
his count if it had been a friendly game. 

Bond's cards lay on the table before him, the two im- 
personal pale pink-patterned backs and the faced nine 
of hearts. To Le Chiffre the nine might be telling the > 
truth or many variations of lies. 

The whole secret lay in the reverse of the two pink 
backs where the pair of queens kissed the green cloth. 

The sweat was running down either side of the 
banker's beaky nose. His thick tongue came out slyly 
and licked a drop out of the corner of his red gash of a 
mouth. He looked at Bond's cards, and then at his own, 
and then back at Bond's. 

Then his whole body shrugged and he slipped out a 
card for himself from the lisping shoe. 

He faced it. The table craned. It was a wonderful 
card, a five. 

'Huit a la banque,' said the croupier. > 

As Bond sat silent, Le Chiffre suddenly grinned 
wolfishly. He must have won. i 

The croupier's spatula reached almost apologetically 
across the table. There was not a man at the table who 
did not believe Bond was defeated. 

The spatula flicked the two pink cards over on their 
backs. The gay red queens smiled up at the lights. 


A great gasp went up round the table, and then a hub- 
bub of talk. 

Bond's eyes were on Le Chiffre. The big man fell 
back in his chair as if slugged above the heart. His 
mouth opened and shut once or twice in protest, and 



his right hand felt at his throat. Then he rocked back. 
His lips were grey. 

As the huge stack of plaques was shunted across the 
table to Bond the banker reached into an inner pocket 
of his jacket and threw a wad of notes on to the table. 

The croupier riffled through them. 

'Un banco de dix millions,' he announced. He 
slapped down their equivalent in ten plaques of a 
million each. 

This is the kill, thought Bond. This man has reached 
the point of no return. This is the last of his capital. He 
has come to where I stood an hour ago, and he is 
making the last gesture that I made. But if this man 
loses there is no one to come to his aid, no miracle to 
help him. 

Bond sat back arid lit a cigarette. On a small table 
beside him half a bottle of Clicquot and a glass had 
materialized. Without asking who the benefactor was, 
Bond filled the glass to the brim and drank it down in 
two long draughts. 

Then he leant back with his arms curled forward on 
the table in front of him like the arms of a wrestler 
seeking a hold at the opening of a bout of ju-jitsu. 

The players on his left remained silent. 

'Banco,' he said, speaking straight at Le Chiffre. 

Once more the two cards were borne over to him, and 
this time the croupier slipped them into the green lagoon 
between the outstretched arms. 

Bond curled his right hand in, glanced briefly down 
and flipped the cards face up into the middle of the 

' Le neuf , ' said the croupier. 

Le Chiffre was gazing down at his own two black 

'Et le baccarat,' and the croupier eased across the 
table the fat tide of plaques. 

Le Chiffre watched them go to join the serried 
millions in the shadow of Bond's left arm; then he stood 



up slowly, and without a word he brushed past the 
players to the break in the rail. He unhooked the velvet- 
covered chain and let it fall. The spectators opened a 
way for him. They looked at him curiously and rather 
fearfully as if he carried the smell of death on him. Then 
he vanished from Bond's sight. 

Bond stood up. He took a hundred-mille plaque from 
the stacks beside him and slipped it across the table to 
the chef de partie. He cut short the effusive thanks and 
asked the croupier to have his winnings carried to the 
caisse. The other players were leaving their seats. With 
no banker, there could be no game, and by now it was 
half-past two. He exchanged some pleasant words with 
his neighbours to right and left and then ducked under 
the rail to where Vesper and Felix Leiter were waiting 
for him. 

Together they walked over to the caisse. Bond was 
invited to come into the private office of the Casino 
directors. On the desk lay his huge pile of chips. He 
added the contents of his pockets to it. 

In all there was over seventy million francs. 

Bond took Felix Leiter's money in notes and took a 
cheque to cash on the Credit Lyonnais for the remaining 
forty-odd million. He was congratulated warmly on his 
winnings. The directors hoped that he would be playing 
again that evening. 

Bond gave an evasive reply. He walked over to the bar 
and handed Leiter's money to him. For a few minutes 
they discussed the game over a bottle of champagne. 
Leiter took a .45 bullet out of his pocket and placed it 
on the table. 

'I gave the gun to Mathis,' he said. 'He's taken it 
away. He Was as puzzled as we were by the spill you 
took. He was standing at the back of the crowd with one 
of his men when it happened. The gunman got away 
without difficulty. You can imagine how they kicked 
themselves when they saw the gun. Mathis gave me this 
bullet to show you what you escaped. The nose had been 



cut with a dum-dum cross. You'd have been in a terrible 
mess. But they can't tie it on to Le Chiffre. The man 
came in alone. They've got the form he filled up to get 
his entrance card. Of course, it'll all be phony. He got 
permission to bring the stick in with him. He had a cer- 
tificate for a war-wound pension. These people certainly 
get themselves well organized. They've got his prints 
and they're on the Belinograph to Paris, so we may hear 
more about him in the morning.' Felix Leiter tapped out 
another cigarette. 'Anyway, all's well that ends well. 
You certainly took Le Chiffre for a ride at the end, 
though we had some bad moments. I expect you did 

Bond smiled. 'That envelope was the most wonderful 
thing that ever happened to me. I thought I was really 
finished. It wasn't at all a pleasant feeling. Talk about a 
friend in need. One day I'll try and return the com- 

He rose. 'I'll just go over to the hotel and put this 
away,' he said, tapping his pocket. 'I don't like wan- 
dering around with Le Chiffre' s death warrant on me. 
He might get ideas. Then I'd like to celebrate a bit. 
What do you think?' 

He turned to Vesper. She had hardly said a word since 
the end of the game. 

'Shall we have a glass of champagne in the night club 
before we go to bed? It's called the Roi Galant. You get 
to it through the public rooms. It looks quite cheerful. ' 

T think I'd love to,' said Vesper. 'I'll tidy up while 
you put your winnings away. I'll meet you in the en- 
trance hall.' 

'What about you, Felix?' Bond hoped he could be 
alone with Vesper. 

Leiter looked at him and read his mind. 

'I'd rather take a little rest before breakfast,' he said. 
'It's been quite a day, and I expect Paris will want me to 
do a bit of mopping-up tomorrow. There are several 
loose ends you won't have to worry about. I shall. I'll 


walk over to the hotel with you. Might as well convoy 
the treasure ship right into port.' 

They strolled over through the shadows cast hy the 
full moon. Both had their hands on their guns. It was 
three o'clock in the morning, but there were several 
people about and the courtyard of the Casino was still 
lined with motorcars. 

The short walk was uneventful. 

At the hotel, Leiter insisted on accompanying Bond 
to his room. It was as Bond had left it six hours before. 

'No reception committee,' observed Leiter, 'but I 
wouldn't put it past them to try a last throw. Do you 
think I ought to stay up and keep you two company? ' 

'You get your sleep,' said Bond. 'Don't worry about 
us. They won't be interested in me without the money 
and I've got an idea for looking after that. Thanks for 
all you've done. I hope we get on a job again one day. ' 

'Suits me,' said Leiter, 'so long as you can draw a 
nine when it's needed — and bring Vesper along with 
you, ' he added dryly. He went out and closed the door. 

Bond turned back to the friendliness of his room. 

After the crowded arena of the big table and the ner- 
vous strain of the three hours' play, he was glad to be 
alone for a moment and to be welcomed by his pyjamas 
on the bed and his hairbrushes on the dressing-table. He 
went into the bathroom and dashed cold water over his 
face and gargled with a sharp mouthwash. He felt the 
bruises on the back of his head and on his right 
shoulder. He reflected cheerfully how narrowly he had 
twice that day escaped being murdered. Would he have 
to sit up all that night and wait for them to come again, 
or was Le Chiffre even now on his way to Le Havre or 
Bordeaux to pick up a boat for some corner of the world 
where he could escape the eyes and guns of SMERSH? 

Bond shrugged his shoulders. Sufficient unto that day 
had been its evil. He gazed for a moment into the mirror 
and wondered about Vesper's morals. He wanted her 
cold and arrogant body. He wanted to see tears and 



desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of 
her black hair in his hands and bend.her long body back 
under his. Bond's eyes narrowed, and his face in the 
mirror looked back at him with hunger. 

He turned away and took out of his pocket the cheque 
for forty million francs. He folded this very small. Then 
he opened the door and looked up and down the 
corridor. He left the door wide open and with his ears 
cocked for footsteps or the sound of the lift, he set to 
work with a small screwdriver. 

Five minutes later he gave a last-minute survey to his 
handiwork, put some fresh cigarettes in his case, closed 
and locked the door, and went off down the corridor 
and across the hall and out into the moonlight. 


'La Vie en Rose?' 

The entrance to the Roi Galant was a seven-foot 
golden picture-frame which had once, perhaps, enclosed 
the vast portrait of a noble European. It was in a 
discreet corner of the 'kitchen' — the public roulette and 
boule room, where several tables were still busy. As 
Bond took Vesper's arm and led her over the gilded 
step, he fought back a hankering to borrow some money 
from the caisse and plaster maximums over the nearest 
table. But he knew that this would be a brash and cheap 
gesture 'pour Spater la bourgeoisie. ' Whether he won or 
lost, it would be a kick in the teeth to the luck which had 
been given him. 

The night club was small and dark, lit only by candles 
in gilded candelabra whose warm light was repeated in 
wall mirrors set in more gold picture-frames. The walls 
were covered in dark red satin, and the chairs and 
banquettes in matching red plush. In the far corner, a 
trio, consisting of a piano, an electric guitar, and 
drums, was playing 'La Vie en Rose' with muted sweet- 




ness. Seduction dripped on the quietly throbbing air. It 
seemed to Bond that every couple must be touching with 
passion under the tables. 

They were given a corner table near the door. Bond 
ordered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and scrambled eggs 
and bacon. 

They sat for a time listening to the music, and then 
Bond turned to Vesper: 'It's wonderful sitting here with 
you and knowing the job's finished. It's a lovely end to 
the day — the prize-giving.' 

He expected her to smile. She said, 'Yes, isn't it?' in a 
rather brittle voice. She seemed to be listening carefully 
to the music. One elbow rested on the table, and her 
hand supported her chin, but on the back of her hand 
and not on the palm; and Bond noticed that her 
knuckles showed white as if her fist was tightly 

Between the thumb and first two fingers of her right 
hand she held one of Bond's cigarettes, as an artist 
holds a crayon; and though she smoked with composure 
she tapped the cigarette occasionally into an ashtray 
when the cigarette had no ash. 

Bond noticed these small things because he felt in- 
tensely aware of her and because he wanted to draw her 
into his own feeling of warmth and relaxed sensuality. 
But he accepted her reserve. He thought it came from a 
desire to protect herself from him, or else it was her 
reaction to his coolness to her earlier in the evening, his 
deliberate coolness, which he knew had been taken as a 

He was patient. He drank champagne and talked a 
little about the happenings of the day and about the per- 
sonalities of Mathis and Leiter and about the possible 
consequences for Le Chiffre. He was discreet, and he 
only talked about the aspects of the case on which she 
must have been briefed by London. 

She answered perfunctorily'. She said that, of course, 
they had picked out the two gunmen, but had thought 



nothing of it when the man with the stick had gone to 
stand behind Bond's chair. They could not believe that 
anything would be attempted in the Casino itself. Di- 
rectly Bond and Leiter had left to walk over to the hotel, 
she had telephoned Paris and told M.'s representative of 
the result of the game. She had had to speak guardedly, 
and the agent had rung off without comment. She had 
been told to do this whatever the result. M. had asked 
for the information to be passed on to him personally at 
any time of the day or night. 

This was all she said. She sipped at her champagne 
and rarely glanced at Bond. She didn't smile. Bond felt 
frustrated. He drank a lot of champagne and ordered 
another bottle. The scrambled eggs came, and they ate 
in silence. 

At four o'clock Bond was about to call for the bill 
when the maltre d'hStel appeared at their table and 
inquired for Miss Lynd. He handed her a note which she 
took and read hastily. 

'Oh, it's only Mathis,' she said. 'He says would T 
come to the entrance hall. He's got a message for you. 
Perhaps he's not in evening clothes or something. I 
Won't be a minute. Then perhaps we could go home.' 

She gave him a strained smile. 'I'm afraid I don't feel 
very good company this evening. It's been rather a 
nerve-racking day, I'm so sorry.' 

Bond made a perfunctory reply and rose, pushing 
back the table. 'I'll get the bill,' he said, and watched 
her take the few steps to the entrance. 

He sat down and lit a cigarette. He felt flat. He sud- 
denly realized that he was tired. The stuffiness of the 
room hit him as it had hit him in the Casino in the early 
hours of the previous day. He called for the bill and 
took a last mouthful of champagne. It tasted bitter, as 
the first glass too many always does. He would have 
liked to see Mathis' s cheerful face and hear his news, 
perhaps even a word of congratulation. 

Suddenly the note to Vesper seemed odd to him. It 



was not the way Mathis would do things. He would have 
asked them both to join him at the bar of the Casino, or 
he would have joined them in the night club, whatever 
his clothes. They would have laughed together, and 
Mathis would have been excited. He had much to tell 
Bond, more than Bond had to tell him: the arrest of the 
Bulgarian, who had probably talked some more; the 
chase after the man with the stick; Le Chiffre's 
movements when he left the Casino. 

Bond shook himself. He hastily paid the bill, not 
waiting for the change. He pushed back his table and 
walked quickly through the entrance without 
acknowledging the good-nights of the maltre d'hdtel 
and the doorman. 

He hurried through the gaming-room and looked 
carefully up and down the long entrance hall. He cursed 
and quickened his step. There were only one or two of- 
ficials and two or three men and women in evening 
clothes getting their things at the vestiaire. 

No Vesper. No Mathis. 

He was almost running. He got to the entrance and 
looked along the steps to the left and right down and 
amongst the few remaining cars. 

The commissionaire came towards him. 

'A taxi, monsieur?' ;■ 

Bond waved him aside and started down the steps, his 
eyes staring into the shadows, the night air cold on his 
sweating temples. 

He was halfway down when he heard a faint cry, then 
the slam of a door away to the right. With a harsh growl 
and stutter from the exhaust a beetle-browed Citroen 
shot out of the shadows into the light of the moon, its 
front- wheel drive dry-skidding through the loose 
pebbles of the forecourt. 

Its tail rocked on its soft springs as if a violent 
struggle was taking place on the back seat. 

With a snarl it raced out to the wide entrance gate in a 
spray of gravel. A small black- object shot out of an 



open rear window and thudded into a flower-bed. There 
was a scream of tortured rubber as the tyres caught the 
boulevard in a harsh left-handed turn, the deafening 
echo of a Citroen' s exhaust in second gear, a crash into 
top, then a swiftly diminishing crackle as the car hared 
off between the shops on the main street towards the 

Bond knew he would find Vesper's evening bag 
among the flowers. 

He ran back with it across the gravel to the brightly lit 
steps and scrabbled through its contents while the com- 
missionaire hovered round him. 

The crumpled note was there amongst the usual 
feminine baggage: 

'Can you come out to the entrance hall for a 
moment? I have news for your companion. 

Rene Mathis.' 


Black Hare and Grey Hound 

It was the crudest possible forgery. 

Bond leapt for the Bentley, blessing the impulse 
, which had made him drive it over after dinner. With the 
choke full out the engine answered at once to the starter, 
and the roar drowned the faltering words of the com- 
missionaire who jumped aside as the rear wheels 
whipped gravel at his piped trouser-legs. 

As the car rocked to the left outside the gate, Bond 
ruefully longed for the front-wheel drive and low chassis 
of the Citroen. Then he went fast through the gears and 
settled himself for the pursuit, briefly savouring the 
echo of the huge exhaust as it came back at him from 
either side of the short main street through the town. 

Soon he was out on the coast-road, a broad highway 
through the sand-dunes which he knew from his morn- 
ing's drive had an excellent surface and was well cat' s- 
eyed on the bends. He pushed the revs up and up, 
hurrying the car to eighty then to . ninety, his huge 
Marchai headlights boring a safe white tunnel, nearly 



half a mile long, between the walls of the night. 

He knew the Citroen must have come this way. He 
had heard the exhaust penetrate beyond the town, and a 
little dust still hung on the bends. He hoped soon to see 
the distant shaft of its headlights. The night was still and 
clear. Only out at sea there must be a light summer mist, 
for at intervals he could hear the foghorns lowing like 
iron cattle down the coast. 

As he drove, whipping the car faster and faster 
through the night, with the other half of his mind he 
cursed Vesper, and M. for having sent her on the job. 

This was just what he had been afraid of. These 
blithering women who thought they could do a man's 
work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind v 
their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip 
and leave men's work to the men? And now for this to 
happen to him, just when the job had come off so 
beautifully: for Vesper to fall for an old trick like that 
and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom 
like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly 

-Bond boiled at the thought of the fix he was in. 
Of course. The idea was a straight swap. The girl 
against his cheque for forty million. Well, he wouldn't 
play: wouldn't think of playing. She was in the Service 
and knew what she was up against. He wouldn't even 
ask M. This job was more important than her. It was 
just too bad. She was a fine girl, but he wasn't going to 
fall for this childish trick. No dice. He would try and 
catch the Citroen and shoot it out with them; and if she 
got shot in the process that was too bad too. He would 
have done his stuff — tried to rescue her before they got 
her off to some hide-out — but if he didn't catch up with 
them he would get back to his hotel and go to sleep and 
say no more about it. The next morning he would ask 
Mathis what had happened to her and show him the 
note. If Le Chiffre put the touch on Bond for the money 
in exchange for the girl, Bond would do nothing and tell 



no one. The girl would just have to take it. If the com- 
missionaire came along with the story of what he had 
seen, Bond would bluff it out by saying he had had a 
drunken row with the girl. 

Bond's mind raged furiously on with the problem as 
he flung the great car down the coast-road, 
automatically taking the curves and watching out for 
carts or cyclists on their way to Royale. On straight 
stretches the Amherst Villiers supercharger dug spurs 
into the Bentley's twenty-five horses, and the engine 
sent a high-pitched scream of pain into the night. Then 
the revolutions mounted until he was past 110 and on to 
the 120 m. p. h. mark on the speedometer. 

He knew he must be gaining fast. Loaded as she was, 
the Citroen could hardly better eighty even on this road. 
On an impulse he slowed down to seventy, turned on his 
foglights, and dowsed the twin-Marchals. Sure enough, 
without the blinding curtain of his own lights, he could 
see the glow of another car a mile or two down the 

He felt under the dashboard and from a concealed 
holster took out a long- barrelled Colt Army Special .45 
and laid it on the seat beside him. With this, if he was 
lucky with the surface of the road, he could hope to get 
their tyres or their petrol tank at anything up to a hun- 
dred yards. 

Then he switched on the big lights again and screamed 
off in pursuit. He felt calm and at ease. The problem of 
Vesper's life was a problem no longer. His face in the 
blue light from the dashboard was grim but serene. 

Ahead in the Citroen there were three men and the 

Le Chiffre was driving, his big fluid body hunched 
forward, his hands light and delicate on the wheel. 
Beside him sat the squat man who had carried the stick 
in the Casino. In his left hand he grasped a thick lever 
which protruded beside him almost level with the floor. 



It might have been ; a lever to adjust the driving-seat. 

In the back seat was the tall thin gunman. He lay back, 
relaxed, gazing at the ceiling, apparently uninterested in 
the wild speed of the car. His right hand lay caressingly 
on Vesper's left thigh which stretched out naked beside 
him. '■ 

Apart from her legs, which were naked to the hips. 
Vesper was only a parcel. Her long black velvet skirt 
had been lifted over her arms and head and tied above 
her head with a piece of rope. Where her face was, a 
small gap had been torn in the velvet so that she could 
breathe. She was not bound in any other way, and she 
lay quiet, her body moving sluggishly with the swaying 
of the car. 

Le Chiffre was concentrating half on the road ahead 
and half on the onrushing- glare of Bond's headlights in 
the driving mirror. He seemed undisturbed when not 
more than a mile separated the hare from the hounds,' 
and he even brought the car down from eighty to sixty 
miles an hour. Now, as he swept round a bend he slowed 
down still further. A few hundred yards ahead a 
Michelin post showed where a small parochial road 
, crossed with the highway. 

'Attention,' he said sharply to the man beside him. 

The man's hand tightened on the lever. 

A hundred yards from the crossroads he slowed to 
thirty. In the mirror Bond's great headlights were 
lighting up the bend. j. 

Le Chiffre seemed to make up his mind. 


The man beside him pulled the lever sharply upwards. 
The boot at the back of the car yawned open like a 
whale's mouth. There was a tinkling clatter on the road 
and then a rhythmic jangling as if the car was towing 
lengths of chain behind it. 


The man depressed the lever sharply and the jangling 
stopped with a final clatter. ( 



Le Chiffre glanced again in the mirror. Bond's car 
was just entering the bend. Le Chiffre made a racing 
change and threw the Citroen left-handed down the 
narrow side-road, at the same time dowsing his lights. 

He stopped the car with a jerk, and all three men got 
swiftly out and doubled back under cover of a low 
hedge to the crossroads, now fiercely illuminated by the 
lights of the Bentley. Each of them carried a revolver, 
and the thin man also had what looked like a large egg 
in his right hand. 

The Bentley screamed down towards them like an ex- 
press train. 


The Crawling of the Skin 

As Bond hurtled round the bend, caressing the 
great car against the camber with an easy sway of body 
and hands, he was working out his plan of action when 
the distance between the two cars should narrow still 
further. He imagined that the enemy driver would try to 
dodge off into a side-road if he got the chance. So when 
he had got found the bend and saw no lights ahead, it 
was a normal reflex to ease up on the accelerator and, 
when he saw the Michelin post, to prepare to brake. 

He was only doing about sixty as he approached the 
black patch across the right-hand crown of the road 
which he assumed to be the shadow cast by a wayside 
tree. Even so, there was no time to save himself. There 
was suddenly a small carpet of glinting steel spikes right 
under his off-side wing. Then he was on top of it. 

Bond automatically slammed the brakes full on and 
braced all his sinews against the wheel to correct the 
inevitable sharp slew to the left, but he only kept control 
for a split second. As the rubber was flayed from his 




off-side wheels and the rims for an instant tore up the 
tarmac, the heavy car whirled across the road in a 
tearing dry skid, slammed the left bank with a crash that 
knocked Bond out of the driving seat on to the floor; 
and then, facing back up the road, it reared slowly 
up, its front wheels spinning and its great headlights 
searching the sky. For a split second, resting on the 
petrol tank, it seemed to paw at the heavens like a giant 
praying-mantis. Then slowly it toppled over backwards 
and fell with a splintering crash of coachwork and glass. 

In the deafening silence, the near-side front wheel 
whispered briefly on and then squeaked to a stop. 

Le Chiffre and his two men only had to walk a few 
yards from their ambush. 

'Put your guns away and get him out,' he ordered 
brusquely. 'I'll keep you covered. Be careful of him. I 
don't want a corpse. And hurry up, it's getting light.' 

The two men got down on their knees. One of them 
took out a long knife and cut some of the fabric away 
from the side of the convertible hood and took hold of 
Bond's shoulders. He was unconscious and immovable. 
The other squeezed between the up-turned car and the 
bank and forced his way through the crumpled window- 
frame. He eased Bond's legs, pinned between the 
steering wheel and the fabric roof of the car. Then they 
inched him out through a hole in the hood. 

They were sweating and filthy with dust and oil by the 
time they had him lying in the road. 

The thin man felt his heart and then slapped his face 
hard on either side. Bond grunted and moved a hand. 
The thin man slapped him again. 

'That's enough,' said Le Chiffre. 'Tie his arms, and 
put him in the car. Here.' He threw a roll of flex to the 
man. 'Empty his pockets first and give me his gun. He 
may have got some other weapons, but we can get them 

He took the objects the thin man handed him and 



stuffed them and Bond's Beretta into his wide pockets 
without examining them. He left the men to it and 
walked back to the car. His face showed neither 
pleasure nor excitement. 

It was the sharp bite of the wire flex into his wrists 
that brought Bond to himself. He was aching all over as 
if he had been thrashed with a wooden club; but when 
he was yanked to his feet and pushed towards the 
narrow side-road where the engine of the Citrogn was 
already running softly, he found that no bones were 
broken. But he felt in no mood for desperate attempts 
to escape and allowed himself to be dragged into the 
back seat of the car without resisting. 

He felt thoroughly dispirited and weak in resolve as 
well as in his body. He had had to take too much in the 
past twenty-four hours and now this last stroke by the 
enemy seemed almost too final. This time there could be 
no miracles. No one knew where he was and no one 
would miss him until well on into the morning. The 
wreck of his car would be found before very long, but it 
would take hours to trace the ownership to him. 

And Vesper. He looked to the right, past the thin man 
who was lying back with his eyes closed. His first reac- 
tion was one of scorn. Damn fool girl getting herself 
trussed up like a chicken, having her skirt pulled over 
her head as if the whole of this business was some kind 
of dormitory rag. But then he felt sorry for her. Her 
naked legs looked so childlike and defenceless. 

'Vesper,' he said softly. 

There was no answer from the bundle in the corner, 
and Bond suddenly had a chill feeling; but then she 
stirred slightly. 

At the same time the thin man caught him a hard 
back-handed blow over the heart . 


Bond doubled over with pain and to shield himself 
from another blow, only to get a rabbit punch on the 



back of the neck which made him arch back again, the 
breath whistling through his teeth. 

The thin man had hit him a hard professional cutting 
blow with the edge of the hand. There was something 
rather deadly about his accuracy and his lack of effort. 
He was now again lying back, his eyes closed. He was a 
man to make you afraid, an evil man. Bond hoped he 
might get a chance of killing him. 

Suddenly the boot of the car was thrown open, and 
there was a clanking crash. Bond guessed that they had 
beert waiting for the third man to retrieve the carpet of 
spiked chain-mail. He assumed it must be an adapta- 
tion of the nail-studded devices used by the Resistance 
against German staff-cars. 

Again he reflected on the efficiency of these people 
and the ingenuity of the equipment they used. Had M. 
underestimated their resourcefulness? He stifled a 
desire to place the blame on London. It was he who 
should have known. He who should have been warned 
by small signs and taken infinitely more precautions. He 
squirmed as he thought of himself washing down cham- 
pagne in the Roi Galant while the enemy was busy 
preparing his counterstroke. He cursed himself and 
cursed the hubris which had made him so sure that the 
battle was won and the enemy in flight. 

All this time Le Chiffre had said nothing. Directly the 
boot was shut, the third man, whom Bond at once 
recognized, climbed in beside him, and Le Chiffre re- 
versed furiously back on the main road. Then he banged 
the gear lever through the gate and was soon doing 
seventy on down the coast. 

By now it was dawn — about five o'clock, Bond 
guessed — and he reflected that a mile or two on was the 
turning to Le Chiffre's villa. He had not thought that 
they would take Vesper there. Now that he realized that 
Vesper had only been a sprat to catch a mackerel the 
whole picture became clear. 

It was an extremely unpleasant picture. For the first 



time since his capture, fear came to Bond and crawled 
up his spine. 

Ten minutes later the Citroen lurched to the left, ran 
on a few hundred yards up a small side road partly 
overgrown with grass and then between a pair of 
dilapidated stucco pillars into an unkempt forecourt 
surrounded by a high wall. They drew up in front of a 
peeling white door. Above a rusty bell-push in the door- 
frame, small zinc letters on a wooden base spelled out 
'Les Noctambules' and, underneath 'SonnezSVP.' 

From what Bond could see of the cement frontage, 
the villa was typical of the French seaside style. He 
could imagine the dead bluebottles being hastily swept 
out for the summer let and the stale rooms briefly aired 
by a cleaning woman sent by the estate agent in Royale. 
Every five years one coat of whitewash would be 
slapped over the rooms and the outside woodwork, and 
for a few weeks the villa would present a smiling front 
to the world. Then the winter rains would get to work, 
and the imprisoned flies, and quickly the villa would 
take on again its abandoned look. 

But, Bond reflected, it would admirably serve Le 
Chiffre's purpose this morning, if he was right in 
assuming what that was to be. They had passed no other 
house since his capture, and from his reconnaissance of 
the day before he knew there was only an occasional 
farm for several miles to the south. 

As he was urged out of the car with a sharp crack in 
the ribs , from the thin man's elbow, he knew that Le 
Chiffre could have them both to himself, undisturbed, 
for several hours. Again his skin crawled. 

Le Chiffre opened the door with a key and disap- 
peared inside. Vesper, looking incredibly indecent in the 
early light of day, was pushed in after him with a torrent 
of lewd French from the man whom Bond knew to him- 
self as 'the Corsican.' Bond followed without giving the 
thin man a chance to urge him. 

The key of the front door turned in the lock. 



Le Chiffre was standing in the doorway of a room on 
the right. He crooked a finger at Bond in a silent, 
spidery summons. 

Vesper was being led down a passage towards the 
back of the house. Bond suddenly decided. 

With a wild backward kick which connected with the 
thin man's shins and brought a whistle of pain from 
him, he hurled himself down the passage after her. With 
only his feet as weapons, there was no plan in his mind 
except to do as much damage as possible to the two gun- 
men and be able to exchange a few hurried words with 
the girl. No other plan was possible. He just wanted to 
tell her not to give in. 

As the Corsican turned at the commotion Bond was 
on him and his right shoe was launched in a flying kick 
at the other man's groin. 

Like lightning the Corsican slammed himself back 
against the wall of the passage and, as Bond's foot 
whistled past his hip, he very quickly, but somehow 
delicately, shot out his left hand, caught Bond's shoe at 
the top of its arc and twisted it sharply. 

Completely off balance, Bond's other foot left the 
ground. In the air his whole body turned and with the 
momentum of his rush behind it crashed sideways and 
down on to the floor. 

For a moment he lay there, all the breath knocked out 
of him. Then the thin man came and hauled him up 
against the wall by his collar. He had a gun in his hand. 
He looked Bond inquisitively in the eyes, Then 
unhurriedly he bent down and swiped the barrel 
viciously across Bond's shins. Bond grunted and caved 
at the knees. 

'If there is a next time, it will be across your teeth,' 
said the thin man in bad French. 

A door slammed. Vesper and the Corsican had disap- 
peared. Bond turned his head to the right. Le Chiffre 
had moved a few feet out into the passage. He lifted his 



finger and crooked it again. Then for the first time he 

'Come, my dear friend. We are wasting our time.' 

He spoke in English with no accent. His voice was low 
and soft and unhurried. He showed no emotion. He 
might have been a doctor summoning the next patient 
from the waiting-room, a hysterical patient who had 
been expostulating feebly with a nurse. 

Bond again felt puny and impotent. Nobody but an 
expert in ju-jitsu could have handled him with the Cor- 
sican's economy and lack of fuss. The cold precision 
with which the thin man had paid him back in his own 
coin had been equally unhurried, even artistic. 

Almost docilely Bond walked back down the passage. 
He had nothing but a few more bruises to show for his 
clumsy gesture o f resistance to these people . 

As he preceded the thin man over the threshold he 
knew that he was utterly and absolutely in their power, 


'My Dear Boy' 

i ,. . 

It was a large bare room, sparsely furnished in 
cheap French 'art nouveau' style. It was difficult to say 
whether it was intended as a living- or dining-room, for 
a flimsy-looking mirrored sideboard, sporting an 
orange crackle-ware fruit dish and two painted wooden 
candlesticks, took up most of the wall opposite the door 
and contradicted the faded pink sofa ranged against the 
other side of the room. 

There was no table in the centre under the 
alabasterine ceiling light, only a small square of stained 
carpet with a futurist design in contrasting browns. 

Over by the window was an incongruous-looking 
throne-like chair in carved oak with a red velvet seat, a 
low table on which stood an empty water carafe and two 
glasses, and a light armchair with a round cane seat and 
no cushion. 

Half-closed Venetian blinds obscured the view from 
the window, but cast bars of early sunlight over the few 
pieces of furniture and over part of the brightly papered 




wall and the brown-stained floorboards. 

Le Chif fre pointed at the cane chair. 

'That will do excellently,' he said to the thin man. 
'Prepare him quickly. If he resists, damage him only a 

He turned to Bond. There was no expression on his 
large face, and his round eyes were uninterested. 'Take 
off your clothes. For every effort to resist, Basil will 
break one of your fingers. We are serious people, and 
your good health is of no interest to us. Whether you 
live or die depends on the outcome of the talk we are 
about to have.' 

He made a gesture toward the thin man and left the 

The thiri man's first action was a curious one. He 
opened the clasp-knife he had used on the hood of 
Bond's car, took the small armchair, and with a swift 
motion cut out its cane seat. 

Then he came back to Bond, sticking the still open 
knife, like a fountain pen, in the vest pocket of his coat. 
He turned Bond round to the light and unwound the 
flex from his wrists. Then he stood quickly aside, and 
the knife was back in his right hand. 


Bond stood chafing his swollen wrists and debating 
with himself how much time he could waste by resisting. 
He only delayed an instant. With a swift step and a 
downward sweep of his free hand, the thin man seized 
the collar of his dinner jacket and dragged it down, 
pinning Bond's arms back. Bond made the traditional 
counter to this old policeman's hold by dropping down 
on one knee; but as he dropped the thin man dropped 
with him and at the same time brought his knife round 
and down behind Bond's back. Bond felt the back of 
the blade pass down his spine. There was the hiss of a 
sharp knife through cloth and his arms were suddenly 
free as the two halves of his coat fell forward. 

He cursed and stood up. The thin man was back in his . 



previous position, his knife again at the ready in his 
relaxed hand. Bond let the two halves of his dinner 
jacket fall off his arms on to the floor. 

'Allez,' said the thin man with a faint trace of im- 

Bond looked him in the eye and then slowly started to 
take off his shirt. 

Le Chiffre came quietly back into the room. He 
carried a pot of what smelt like coffee. He put it on the 
small table near the window. He also placed beside it on 
the table two other homely objects, a three-foot-long 
carpet-beater in twisted cane and a carving-knife. 

He settled himself comfortably on the thronelike 
chair and poured some of the coffee into one of the 
glasses. With one foot he hooked forward the small 
armchair, whose seat was now an empty circular frame 
of wood, until it was directly opposite him. 

Bond stood stark naked in the middle , of the room, 
bruises showing livid on his white body, his face a grey 
mask of exhaustion and knowledge of what was to 

'Sit down there.' Le Chiffre nodded at the chair in 
front of him. 

Bond walked over and sat down. 

The thin man produced some flex. With this he bound 
Bond's wrists to the arms of the chair and his ankles to 
the front legs. He passed a double strand across his 
chest, under the arrnpits and through the chair-back. He 
made no mistakes with the knots and left no play in any 
of the bindings. All of them bit sharply into Bond's 
flesh. The legs of the chair were broadly spaced and 
Bond could not even rock it. 

He was utterly a prisoner, naked and defenceless. 

His buttocks and the underpart of his body protruded 
through the seat of the chair towards the floor. 

Le Chiffre nodded to the thin man, who quietly left 
the room and closed the door. 

There was a packet of Gauloises on the table and a 


lighter. Le Chiffre lit a cigarette and\ 
mouthful of coffee from the glass. Then \ 
the cahe carpet-beater and, resting the h 
fortably on his knee, allowed the flat trefoilX ^ ne 
on the floor directly under Bond's chair. \ ^ 

He looked Bond carefully, almost caressingly in the 
eyes. Then his wrist sprang suddenly upwards on his 

The result was startling. 

Bond's whole body arched in an involuntary spasm. 
His face contracted in a soundless scream, and his lips 
drew right away from his teeth. At the same time his 
head flew back with a jerk showing the taut sinews of 
his neck. For an instant, muscles stood out in knots all 
over his body, and his toes and fingers clenched until 
they were quite white. Then his body sagged, and per- 
spiration started to bead all over his skin. He uttered a 
deep groan. — 

Le Chiffre Waited for his eyes to open. 

'You see, dear boy?' He smiled a soft, fat smile. 'Is 
the position quite clear now? ' 

A drop of sweat fell off Bond's chin on to his naked 
chest. ■ 

'Now let us get down to business and see how soon we 
can be finished with this unfortunate mess you have got 
yourself into.' He puffed cheerfully at his cigarette and 
gave an admonitory tap on the floor beneath Bond's 
chair with his horrible and incongruous instrument. 

'My dear boy' — Le Chiffre spoke like a father — 'the 
game of Red Indians is over, quite over. You have 
stumbled by mischance into a game for grown-ups, and 
you have already found it a painful experience. You are 
not equipped, my dear boy, to play games with adults; 
and it was very foolish of your nanny in London to have 
sent you out here with your spade and bucket. Very 
foolish indeed, and most unfortunate for you. 

'But we must stop joking, my dear fellow, although I 
am sure you would like to follow me in developing this 

- . 

jPJ^autionary tale, 
'emy dropped his bantering tone and looked 
at Bond sharply and venomously. 
1 Where is the money? ' 

Bond's bloodshot eyes looked emptily back at him. 

Again the upward jerk of the wrist, and again Bond's 
whole body writhed and contorted. 

Le Chiffre waited until the tortured heart eased down 
its laboured pumping and until Bond's eyes dully 
opened again. 

'Perhaps I should explain,' said Le Chiffre. 'I intend 
to continue attacking the sensitive parts of your body 
until you answer my question. I am without mercy, and 
there will be no relenting. There is no one to stage a last- 
minute rescue, and there is no possibility of escape for 
you. This is not a romantic adventure story in which the 
villain is finally routed and the hero is given a medal and 
marries the girl. Unfortunately these things don't 
happen in real life. If you continue to be obstinate, you 
will be tortured to the edge of madness, and then the girl 
will be brought in and we will set about her in front of 
you. If that is still not enough, you will both be pain- 
fully killed, and I shall reluctantly leave your bodies and 
make my way abroad to a comfortable house which is 
waiting for me. There I shall take up a useful and 
profitable career and live to a' ripe and peaceful old age 
in the bosom of the family I shall doubtless create. So 
you see, my dear boy, that I stand to lose nothing. If 
you hand the money over, so much the better. If not, I 
shall shrug my shoulders and be on my way. ' 

He paused, and his wrist lifted slightly on his knee. 
Bond's flesh cringed as the cane surface just touched 

'But you, my dear fellow, can only hope that I shall 
spare you further pain and spare your life. There is no 
other hope for you but that. Absolutely none. 


Bond closed his eyes and waited for the pain. He 



knew that the beginning of torture is the worst. There is 
a parabola of agony. A crescendo leading up to a peak, 
and then the nerves are blunted and react progressively 
less until unconsciousness and death. All he could do 
was to pray for the peak, pray that his spirit would hold 
out so long and then accept the long free-wheel down to 
the final blackout. 

He had been told by colleagues who had survived tor- 
ture by the Germans and the Japanese that towards the 
end there came a wonderful period of warmth and 
languor leading into a sort of sexual twilight where pain 
turned to pleasure and where hatred and fear of the tor- 
tures turned to a masochistic infatuation. It was the 
. supreme test of will, he had learnt, to avoid showing this 
form of punch-drunkenness. Directly it was suspected 
they would either kill you at once and save themselves 
N further useless effort, or let you recover sufficiently for 
your nerves to creep back to the other side of the 
parabola. Then they would start again. 

He opened his eyes a fraction. 

Le Chiffre had been waiting for this, and like a rattle- 
snake the cane instrument leapt up from the floor. It 
struck again and again so that Bond screamed and his 
body jangled in the chair like a marionette. 

Le Chiffre desisted only when Bond's tortured 
spasms showed a trace of sluggishness. He sat for a 
while sipping his coffee and frowning slightly like a 
surgeon watching a cardiograph during a difficult 

When Bond's eyes flickered and opened he addressed 
him again, but now with a trace of impatience. 

'We know that the money is somewhere in your 
room,' he said. 'You drew a cheque to cash for forty 
,/ million francs, and I know that you went back to the 
hotel to hide it.' 

For a moment Bond wondered how he had been so 

'Directly you left for the night club,' continued Le 



Chiffre, 'your room was searched by four of my 

The Muntzes must have helped, reflected Bond. 

'We found a good deal in childish hiding-places. The 
ball-cock in the lavatory yielded an interesting little 
code-book, -and we found some more of your papers 
taped to the back of a drawer. All the furniture has been 
taken to pieces, and your clothes and the curtains and 
bedclothes have been cut up. Every inch of the room has 
been searched, and all the fittings removed. It is most 
unfortunate for you that we didn't find the cheque. If 
we had, you would now be comfortably in bed, perhaps 
with the beautiful Miss Lynd, instead of this.' He lashed 

Through the red mist of pain, Bond thought of 
Vesper. He could imagine how she was being used by 
the two gunmen. They would be making the most of her 
before she was sent for by Le Chiffre. He thought of the 
fat wet lips of the Corsican and the slow cruelty of the 
thin man. Poor wretch to have been dragged into this. 
Poor little beast. 

Le Chiffre was talking again. 

'Torture is a terrible thing,' he was saying as he 
puffed at a fresh cigarette, 'but it is a simple matter for 
the torturer, particularly when the patient' — he smiled 
at the word — 'is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a 
man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements. 
With this simple instrument, or with almost any other 
object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible 
or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or 
books about the war. There is nothing worse. It is not 
only the immediate agony, but also the thought that 
your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at 
the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a 

'That, my dear Bond, is a sad and terrible thought — a 
long chain of agony for the body and also for the mind, 
and then the final screaming moment when you will beg 

'MY DEAR BOY' 117 

me to kill you. All that is inevitable unless you tell me 
where you hid the money. ' 

He poured some more coffee into the glass and drank 
it down, leaving brown corners to his mouth. 

Bond's lips were writhing. He was trying to say 
something. At last he got the word out in a harsh croak: 
'Drink,' he said and his tongue came out and swilled 
across his dry lips. . 

'Of course, my dear boy, how thoughtless of me!' Le 
Chiffre poured some coffee into the other glass. There 
was a ring of sweat drops on the floor all around Bond's 
chair. v 

'We must certainly keep your tongue lubricated.' 

He laid the handle of the carpet-beater down on the 
floor between his thick legs and rose from his chair. He 
went behind Bond and taking a handful of his soaking 
hair in one hand, he wrenched Bond's, head sharply 
back. He poured the coffee down Bond's throat in small 
mouthfuls so that he would not choke. Then he released 
his head so that it fell forward again on his chest. He 
went back to his chair and picked up the carpet-beater. 

Bond raised his head and spoke thickly. 

'Money no good to you.' His voice was a laborious 
croak. 'Police trace it to you.' 

Exhausted by the effort, his head sank forward again. 
He was a little, but only a little, exaggerating the extent 
of his physical collapse. Anything to gain time, aind 
anything to defer the next searing pain. 

'Ah, my dear fellow, I had forgotten to tell you.' Le 
Chiffre smiled wolfishly. 'We met after our little game 
at the Casino, and you were such a sportsman that you 
agreed we would have one more run through the pack 
between the two of us. It was a gallant gesture. Typical 
of an English gentleman. 

'Unfortunately you lost, and this upset you so much 
that you decided to leave Royale immediately for an 
unknown destination. Like the gentleman you are, you 
very kindly gave me a note explaining the circumstances 



so that I would have no difficulty in cashing your 
cheque. You see, dear boy, everything has been thought 
of, and you need have no fears on my account.' He 
chuckled fatly. 

'Now shall we continue? I have all the time in the 
world, and truth to tell I am rather interested to see how 
long a man can stand this particular form of — er — en- 
couragement.' He rattled the harsh cane on the floor. 

So that was the score, thought Bond, with a final 
sinking of the heart. The 'unknown destination' would 
be under the ground or under the sea, or perhaps, more 
simple, under the crashed Bentley. Well, if he had to die 
anyway, he might as well try it the hard way. He had no 
hope that Mathis or Leiter would get to him in time, but 
at least there was a chance that they would catch up with 
Le Chiffre before he could get away. It must be getting 
on for seven. The car might have been found by now. It 
was a choice of evils; but the longer Le Chiffre con- 
tinued the torture the more likely he would be revenged. 

Bond lifted his head and looked Le Chiffre in the 

The china of the whites was now veined with red. It 
was like looking at two black currants poached in 
blood. The rest of the wide face was yellowish except 
where a thick black stubble covered the moist skin. The 
upward edges of black coffee at the corners of the 
mouth gave his expression a false smile and the whole 
face was faintly striped by the light through the Venetian 
blinds. ', 

'No,' he said flatly, '. . . you.' 

Le Chiffre grunted and set to work again with savage 
fury. Occasionally he snarled like a wild beast. 
After ten minutes Bond had fainted, blessedly, 
Le Chiffre at once stopped. He wiped some sweat 
from his face with a circular motion of his disengaged 
hand. Then he looked at his watch and seemed to make 
up his mind. • 

He got up and stood behind the inert, dripping body. 



There was no colour in Bond's face or anywhere on his 
body above the waist. There was a faint flutter of his 
skin above the heart. Otherwise he might have been 

Le Chiffre seized Bond's ears and harshly twisted 
them. Then he leant forward and slapped his cheeks 
hard several times. Bond's head rolled from side to side 
with each blow. Slowly his breathing became deeper. An 
animal groan came from his lolling mouth. , 

Le Chiffre took a glass of coffee and poured some 
into Bond's mouth and threw the rest in his face. Bond's 
eyes slowly opened. 

Le Chiffre returned to his chair and waited. He lit a 
cigarette and contemplated the spattered pool of blood 
on the floor beneath the inert body opposite. 

Bond groaned again pitifully. It was an inhuman 
sound. His eyes opened wide, and he gazed dully at his 
torturer. . .„ 

Le Chiffre spoke. 

'That is all, Bond. We will now finish with you. You 
understand? Not kill you, but finish with you. And then 
we will have in the girl and see if something can be got 
out of the remains of the two of you.' . 

He reached towards the table. 

'Say goodbye to it, Bond.' 


A Craglike Face 

It was extraordinary to hear the third voice. The 
hour's ritual had only demanded a duologue against the 
horrible noise of the torture. Bond's dimmed senses 
hardly took it in. Then suddenly he was halfway back to 
consciousness. He found he could see and hear again. 
He could hear the dead silence after the one quiet word 
from the doorway. He could see Le Chiffre's head 
slowly come up and the expression of blank astonish- 
ment, of innocent amazement, slowly give way to fear. 

'Shtop,' had said the voice, quietly. 

Bond heard slow steps approaching behind his chair. 

'Dhrop it,' said the voice. 

Bond saw Le Chiffre's hand open obediently and the 
knife fall with a clatter to the floor. 

He tried desperately to read into Le Chiffre's face 
what was happening behind him, but all he saw was 
blind incomprehension and terror. Le Chiffre's mouth 
worked, but only a high-pitched 'eek' came from it. His 
heavy cheeks trembled as he tried to collect enough 




saliva in his mouth to say something, ask something. 
His hands fluttered vaguely in his lap. One of them 
made a slight movement towards his pocket, but in- 
stantly fell back. His round staring eyes had lowered for 
a split second, and Bond guessed there was a gun trained 
on him. 

There was a moment's silence. 


The word came almost with a sigh. It came with a 
downward cadence as if nothing else had to be said. It 
was the final explanation. The last word of all. 

'No,' said Le Chiffre. 'No. I . . .' His voice trailed 

Perhaps he was going to explain, to apologize, but 
what he must have seen in the other's face made it all 

'Your two men. Both dead. You are a fool and a thief 
and a traitor. I have been sent from the Soviet Union to 
eliminate you. You are fortunate that I have only time 
to shoot you. If it was possible, I was instructed that 
you should die most painfully. We cannot see the end of 
the trouble you have caused.' 

The thick voice stopped. There was silence in the 
room save for the rasping breath of Le Chiffre. 

Somewhere outside, a bird began to sing and there 
were other small noises from the awakening coun- 
tryside. The sweat on Le Chiffre's face glistened 

'Do you plead guilty? ' 

Bond wrestled with his consciousness. He screwed up 
his eyes and tried to shake his head to clear it; but his 
whole nervous system was numbed, and no message 
was transmitted to his muscles. He could just keep his 
focus on the great pale face in front of him and on its 
bulging eyes. 

A thin string of saliva crept from the open mouth and 
hung down from the chin. 

'Yes,' said the mouth. . . . 



There was a sharp phut, no louder than a bubble of 
air escaping from a tube of toothpaste. No other noise 
at all, and suddenly Le Chiffre had grown another eye, 
a third eye on a level with the other two, right where the 
thick nose started to jut out below the forehead. It was a 
small black eye, without eyelashes or eyebrows. 

For a second the three eyes looked out across the 
room, and then the whole face seemed to slip and go 
down on one knee. The two outer eyes turned trembling 
up towards the ceiling. Then the heavy head fell 
sideways and the right shoulder and finally the whole 
upper part of the body lurched over the arm of the chair 
as if Le Chiffre were going to be sick. But there was only 
a short rattle of his heels on the ground, and then no 
other movement. 

The tall back of the chair looked impassively out 
across the dead body in its arms. 

There was a faint movement behind Bond. A hand 
came from behind and grasped his chin and pulled it 

For a moment Bond looked up into two glittering eyes 
behind a narrow black mask. There was the impression 
of a craglike face under a hatbrim, the collar of a fawn 
mackintosh. He could take in nothing more before his 
head was pushed down again. 

'You are fortunate,' said the voice. 'I have no orders 
to kill you. Your life has been saved twice in one day. 
But you can tell your organization that SMERSH is only 
merciful by chance or by mistake. In your case you were 
saved first by chance and now by mistake, for I should 
have had orders to kill any foreign spies who were 
hanging around this traitor like flies round a dog's- 

'But I shall leave you my visiting card. You are a gam- 
bler. You play at cards. One day perhaps you will play 
against one of us. It would be well that you should be 
known as a spy.' 

Steps moved round to behind Bond's right shoulder. 



There was the click of a knife opening. An arm in some 
grey material came into Bond's line of vision. A broad 
hairy hand emerging from a dirty white shirt-cuff was 
holding a thin stiletto like a fountain-pen. It poised for a 
moment above the back of Bond's right hand, im- 
movably bound with flex to the arm of the chair. The 
point of the stiletto executed three quick straight 
slashes. A fourth slash crossed them where they ended, 
just short of the knuckles. Blood in the shape of an in- 
verted 'M' welled out and slowly started to drip on to 
the floor. 

The pain was nothing to what Bond was already suf- 
fering, but it was enough to plunge him again into un- 

The steps moved quietly away across the room. The 
door was softly closed. 

In the silence, the cheerful small sounds of the sum- 
mer's day crept through the closed window. High on the 
left-hand wall hung two small patches of pink light. They 
were reflections cast upwards from the floor by the 
zebra stripes of June sunshine, cast upwards from two 
separate pools of blood a few feet apart. 

As the day progressed the pink patches marched 
slowly along the wall. And slowly they grew larger. 


The White Tent 

You are about to awaken when you dream that 
you are dreaming. 

During the next two days James Bond was per- 
manently in this state without regaining consciousness. 
He watched the procession of his dreams go by without 
making any effort to disturb their sequence, although 
many of them were terrifying and all were painful. He 
knew that he was in a bed and that he was lying on his 
back and could not move and in one of his twilight 
moments he thought there were people round him; but 
he made no effort to open his eyes and reenter the 

He felt safe in the darkness, and he hugged it to him. 

On the morning of the third day a bloody nightmare 
shook him awake, trembling and sweating. There was a 
hand on his forehead which he associated with his 
dream. He tried to lift an arm and smash it sideways 
into the owner of the hand, but his arms were im- 
movable, secured to the sides of his bed. His whole body 




was strapped down and something like a large white cof- 
fin covered him from chest to feet and obscured his view 
of the end of the bed. He shouted a string of obscenities; 
but the effort took all his strength, and the words tailed 
off into a sob. Tears of forlornness and self-pity welled 
out of his eyes. 

A woman's voice was speaking, and the words 
gradually penetrated to him. It seemed to be a kind 
voice, and it slowly came to him that he was being com- 
forted, and that this was a friend and not an enemy. He 
could hardly believe it. He had been so certain that he 
was still a captive, and that the torture was about to 
begin again. He felt his face being softly wiped with a 
cool cloth which smelt of lavender, and then he sank 
back into his dreams. 

When he awoke again some hours later all his terrors 
had gone, and he felt warm and languorous. Sun was 
streaming into the bright room, and garden sounds 
came through the window. In the background there was 
the noise of small waves on a beach. As he moved his 
head he heard a rustle, and a nurse who had been sitting 
beside his pillow rose and came into his line of vision. 
She was pretty, and she smiled as she put her hand on 
his pulse. 

'Well, I'm certainly glad you've woken up at last. I've 
never heard such dreadful language in my life. ' 
Bond smiled back at her. 

'Where am I?' he asked, and was surprised that his 
Voice sounded firm and clear. 

'You're in a nursing home at Royale and I've been 
sent over from England to look after you. There are two 
of us, and I'm Nurse Gibson. Now just lie quiet, and I'll 
go and tell doctor you're awake. You've been un- 
conscious since they brought you in, and we've been 
quite worried.' 

Bond closed his eyes and mentally explored his body. 
The worst pain was in his wrists and ankles and in his 
right hand where the Russian had cut him. In the centre 



of the body there was no feeling. He assumed that he 
had been given a local anaesthetic. The rest of his body 
ached dully as if he had been beaten all over. He could 
feel the pressure of bandages everywhere, and his un- 
shaven neck and chin prickled against the sheets. From 
the feel of the bristles he knew that he must have been at 
least three days without shaving. That meant two days 
since the morning of the torture. 

- He was preparing a short list of questions in his mind 
when the door opened and the doctor came in followed 
by the nurse and, in the background, the dear figure of 
Mathis, a Mathis looking anxious behind his broad 
smile, who put a finger to his lips and walked on, tiptoe 
to the window and sat down. 

The doctor, a Frenchman with a young and intelligent 
face, had been detached from his duties with the 
DeuxiSme Bureau to look after Bond's case. He came 
and stood beside Bond and put his hand on Bond's 
forehead while he looked at the temperature chart 
behind the bed. 

When he spoke he was forthright. 

'You have a lot of questions to ask, my dear Mr. 
Bond,' he said in excellent English, 'and I can tell you 
most of the answers. I do not want you to waste your 
strength, so I will give you the salient facts and then you 
may have a few minutes with Monsieur Mathis who 
wishes to obtain one or two details from you. It is really 
too early for this talk, but I wish to set your mind at rest 
so that we can proceed with the task of repairing your 
body without bothering too much about your mind.' 

Nurse Gibson pulled up a chair for the doctor and left 
the room. 

'You have been here about two days,' continued the 
doctor. 'Your car was found by a farmer on the way to 
market in Royale, and he informed the police. After 
some delay Monsieur Mathis heard that it was your car, 
and he immediately went to Les Noctambules with his 
men. You and Le Chiffre were found and also your 


friend, Miss Lynd, who was unharmed and according to 
her account suffered no molestation. She was prostrated 
with shock, but is now fully recovered and is at her 
hotel. She has been instructed by her superior in 
London to stay at Royale under your orders until you 
are sufficiently recovered to go back to England. 

'Le Chiffre's two gunmen are dead, each killed by a 
single .35 bullet in the back of the skull. From the lack 
of expression on their faces, they evidently never saw or 
heard their assailant. They were found in the same room 
as Miss Lynd. Le Chiffre is dead, shot with a similar 
weapon between the eyes. Did you witness his death? ' 

'Yes,' said Bond. 

'Your own injuries are serious, but your life is not in 
danger though you have lost a lot of blood. If all goes 
well, you will recover completely and none of the func- 
tions of your body will be impaired.' The doctor smiled 
grimly. 'But I fear that you will continue to be in pain 
for several days, and it will be my endeavour to give you 
as much comfort as possible. Now that you have 
regained consciousness your arms will be freed, but you 
must not move your body; and when you sleep the nurse 
has orders to secure your arms again. Above all, it is im- 
portant that you rest and regain your strength. At the 
moment you are suffering from a grave condition of 
mental and physical, shock.' The doctor paused. 'For 
how long Were you maltreated? ' 

'About an hour, ' said Bond. 

'Then it is remarkable that you are alive, and I 
congratulate you. Few men could have supported what 
you have been through. Perhaps that is some con- 
solation. As Monsieur Mathis can tell you, I have had in 
my time to treat a number of patients who have suffered 
similar handling, and not one has come through it as 
you have done.' 

The doctor looked at Bond for a moment and turned 
brusquely to Mathis. 

'You may have ten minutes, and then you will be 



forcibly ejected. If you put the patient's temperature 
up, you will answer for it.' 

He gave them both a broad smile and left the room. 

Mathis came over and took the doctor's chair. 

'That's agoodman,' said Bond. 'I like him.' 

'He's attached to the Bureau,' said Mathis. 'He is a 
very good man, and I will tell you about him one of 
these days. He thinks you are a prodigy — and so do I, 

'However, that can wait. As you can imagine, there is 
much to clear up, and I am being pestered by Paris and, 
of course, London, and even by Washington via our 
good friend Leiter. Incidentally,' he broke off, 'I have a 
personal message from M. He spoke to me himself on 
the telephone. He simply said to tell you that he is much 
impressed. I asked if that was all, and he said: "Well, 
tell him that the Treasury is. greatly relieved." Then he 
rang off.' 

Bond grinned with pleasure. What most warmed him 
was that M. himself should have rung up Mathis.. This 
was quite unheard of. The very existence of M., let 
alone his identity, was never admitted. He could 
imagine the flutter this must have caused in the ultra- 
security-minded organization in London. 

'A tall thin man with one arm came over from 
London the same day we found you,' continued Mathis, 
knowing from his own experience that these shop details 
would interest Bond more than anything else and give 
him most pleasure, 'and he fixed up the nurses and 
looked after everything. Even your car's being repaired 
for you. He seemed to be Vesper's boss. He spent a lot 
of time with her and gave her strict instructions to look 
after you.' 

Head of S., thought Bond. They're certainly giving 
me the red-carpet treatment. 

'Now,' said Mathis, 'to business. Who killed Le 

'SMERSH,' said Bond. 

Mathis gave a low whistle. 



'My God,' he said respectfully. 'So they were on to 
him. What did he look like?' ,: 

Bond explained briefly what had happened up to the 
moment of Le Chiffre's death, omitting all but the most 
essential details. It cost him an effort, and he was glad 
when it was done. Casting his mind back to the scene 
awoke the whole nightmare, and the sweat began to 
pour off his forehead and a deep throb of pain started 
up in his body. 

Mathis realized that he was going too far. Bond's 
voice was getting feebler, and his eyes were clouding. 
Mathis snapped shut his shorthand book and laid a 
hand on Bond's shoulder. 

'Forgive me, my friend,' he said. 'It is all over now, 
and you are in safe hands. All is well, and the whole 
plan has gone splendidly. We have announced that Le 
Chiffre shot his two accomplices and then committed 
suicide because he could, not face an inquiry into the 
union funds. Strasbourg and the north are in an uproar. 
He was considered a great hero there and a pillar of the 
Communist Party in France. This story of brothels and 
casinos has absolutely knocked the bottom out of his 
organization, and they're all running around like 
scalded cats. At the moment the Communist Party is 
giving out that he was off his head. But that hasn't 
helped much after Thorez's breakdown not long ago. 
They're just making it look as if all their big-shots were 
gaga. God knows how they're going to unscramble the 
whole business.' 

Mathis saw that his enthusiasm had had the desired 
effect. Bond's eyes were brighter. 

'One last mystery,' Mathis said, 'and then I promise I 
will go.' He looked at his watch. 'The doctor will be 
after my skin in a moment. Now, what about the 
money? Where is it? Where did you hide it? We too 
have been over your room with 1 a toothcomb. It isn't 

Bond grinned. 



'It is,' he said, 'more or less. On the door of each 
room, there is a small square of black plastic with the 
number of the room on it. On the corridor side, of 
course. When Leiter left me that night, I simply opened 
the door and unscrewed my number plate and put the 
folded cheque underneath it and screwed the plate back. 
It'll still be there.' He smiled. 'I'm glad there's 
something the stupid English can teach the clever 

Mathis laughed delightedly. 

'I suppose you think that's paid me back for knowing 
what the Muntzes were up to. Well, I'll call it quits. In- 
cidentally, we've got them in the bag. They were just 
some minor fry hired for the occasion. We'll see that 
they get a few years. ' 

He rose hastily as the doctor stormed into the room 
and took one look at Bond. 

'Out,' he said to Mathis! 'Out, and don't come back.' 

Mathis just had time to wave cheerfully to Bond and 
call some hasty words of farewell before he was hustled 
through the door. Bond heard a torrent of heated 
French diminishing down the corridor. He lay back 
exhausted, but heartened by all he had heard. He found 
himself thinking of Vesper as he quickly drifted off into 
a troubled sleep. 

There were still questions to be answered, but they 
could wait. 

CHAPTER 20 •■ ' 

The Nature of Evil 

Bond made good progress. When Mathis came to 
see him three days later he was propped up in bed, and 
his arms were free. The lower half of his body was still 
shrouded in the oblong tent, but he looked cheerful and 
it was only occasionally that a twinge of pain narrowed 
his eyes. 
Mathis looked crestfallen. 

'Here's your cheque,' he said to Bond. 'I've rather 
enjoyed walking around with forty million francs in my 
pocket, but I suppose you'd better sign it and I'll put it 
to your account with the Credit Lyonnais. There's no 
sign of our friend from SMERSH. Not a damn trace. He 
must have got to the villa on foot or on a bicycle because 
you heard nothing of his arrival and the two gunmen 
obviously didn't. It's pretty exasperating. We've got 
precious little on this SMERSH organization, and neither 
has London. Washington said they had; but it turned 
out to be the usual waffle from refugee interrogation, 
and you know that's about as much good as in- 



terrogating an English man-in-the-street about his own 
Secret Service, or a Frenchman about the Deuxieme.' 

'He probably came from Leningrad to Berlin via j 
"Warsaw, ' said Bond. 'From Berlin. they've got plenty of j 
routes open to the rest of Europe. He's back home by 
now being told off for not shooting me too. I fancy 
they've got quite a file on me in view of one or two of i 
the jobs M.'s given me since the war. He obviously I 
thought he was being smart enough cutting his initial in 
my hand.' 

'What's that?' asked Mathis. 'The doctor said the 
cuts looked like a square M with a tail to the top. He 
said they didn't mean anything.' 

•'Well, I Only got a glimpse before I passed out, but 
I've seen the cuts several times while they were being 
dressed and I'm pretty certain they are the Russian letter 
for SH. It's rather like an inverted M with a tail. That 
would make sense. SMERSH is short for smyert 
SHPIONAM— Death to Spies— and he thinks he's labelled 
me as a SHPION. It's a nuisance because M. will 
probably say I've got to go to hospital again when I get 
back to London and have new skin grafted over the 
whole of the back of my hand. It doesn't matter much. 
I've decided to resign.' 

Mathis looked at him with his mouth open. 

'Resign? ' he asked incredulously. 'What the hell for? ' 

Bond looked away from Mathis. He studied his ban- 
daged hands. 

'When I was being beaten up,' he said, 'I suddenly 
liked the idea of being alive. Before Le Chiffre began, 
he used a phrase which stuck in my mind: "playing Red 
Indians." He said that's what I had been doing. Well, I 
suddenly thought he might be right. 

'You see,' he said, still looking down at his bandages, 
'when one's young, it seems very easy to distinguish be- 
tween right and wrong; but as one gets older it becomes 
more difficult. At school it's easy to pick out one's own 



villains and heroes, and one grows up wanting to be a 
hero and kill the villains . ' 

He looked obstinately at Mathis. 

'Well, in the last few years I've killed two villains. 
The first was in New York — a Japanese cipher expert 
cracking our codes on the thirty-sixth floor of the 
R.C.A. Building in Rockefeller Center, where the Japs 
had their consulate. I took a room on the fortieth floor 
of the next-door skyscraper, and I could look across the 
street into his room and see him working.. Then I got a 
colleague from our organization in New York and a 
couple of Remington thirty-thirty's with telescopic 
sights and silencers. We smuggled them up to my room 
and sat for days waiting for our chance. He shot at the 
man a second before me. His job was only to blast a 
hole through the window so that I could shoot the Jap 
through it. They have tough windows at Rockefeller 
Center to keep the noise out. It worked very well. As I 
expected, his bullet got deflected by the glass and went 
God knows where. But I shot immediately after him, 
through the hole he had made. I got the Jap in the 
mouth as he turned to gape at the broken window.' 

Bond smoked for a minute. 

'It was a pretty sound job. Nice and clean too. Three 
hundred yards away. No personal contact. The next 
time in Stockholm wasn't so pretty. I had to kill a Nor- 
wegian who was doubling against us for the Germans. 
He'd managed to get two of our men captured 
— probably bumped off for all I know. For various 
reasons it had to be an absolutely silent job. I chose the 
bedroom of his flat and a knife. And, well, he just 
didn' t die very quickly. 

'For those two jobs I was awarded a Double O num- 
ber in the Service. Felt pretty clever and got a reputation 
for being good and tough. A Double O number in our 
Service means you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in 
the course of some job. 



'Now,' he looked up again at Mathis, 'that's all very 
fine — the hero kills two villains; but when the hero 
Le Chiffre starts to kill the villain Bond and the villain 
Bond knows he isn't a villain at all, you see the other 
side of the medal. The villains and heroes get all mixed 

'Of course,' he added, as Mathis started to ex- 
postulate, 'patriotism comes along and makes it seem 
fairly all right, but this country-right-or-wrong business 
is getting a little out of date. Today we are fighting com- 
munism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the 
brand of conservatism we have today would have been 
damn near called communism, and we should have been 
told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty 
quickly these days, and the heroes and villains keep on 
changing parts.' 

Mathis stared at him aghast. Then he tapped his head 
and put a calming hand on Bond's arm. 

'You mean to say that this precious Le Chiffre who 
did his best to turn you into a eunuch doesn't qualify as 
a villain?' he asked. 'Anyone would think from the rot 
you talk that he had been battering your head instead of 
your . . .' he gestured down the bed. 'You wait till M. 
tells you to get after another Le Chiffre. I bet you'll go 
after him all right. And what about SMERSH? I can tell 
you I don't like the idea of these chaps running around 
France killing anyone they feel has been a traitor to their 
precious political system. You're a bloody anarchist.' 

He threw his arms in the air and let them fall 
helplessly to his sides. 

Bond laughed. 

'All right,' he said. 'Take our friend Le Chiffre. It's 
simple enough to say he was an evil man; at least it's 
simple enough for me, because he did evil things to me. 
If he was here now, I wouldn't hesitate to kill him^but 
out of personal revenge and not, I'm afraid, for some 
high moral reason or for the sake of my country.' 

He looked up at Mathis to see how bored he was 



getting with these introspective refinements of what, to 
Mathis, was a simple question of his duty. 
Mathis smiled back at him. 

'Continue, my dear friend. It is interesting for me to 
see this new Bond. Englishmen are so odd. They are like 
a nest of Chinese boxes. It takes a very long time to get 
to the centre of them. When one gets there the result is 
unrewarding, but the process is instructive and en- 
tertaining. Continue. Develop your arguments. There 
may be something I can use to my own chief the next 
time I want to get out of an unpleasant job.' He grinned 

Bond ignored him. 

'Now in order to tell the difference between good and 
evil, we have manufactured two images representing the 
extremes — representing the deepest black and the purest 
white— and we call them God and the Devil. But in 
doing so we have cheated a bit. God is a clear image, 
you can see every hair on His beard. But the Devil. 
What does he look like?' Bond looked triumphantly at 
Mathis. '■ 

Mathis laughed ironically. 

'A woman.' 

'It's all very fine,' said Bond; 'but I've been thinking 
about these things, and I'm wondering whose side I 
ought to be on. I'm getting very sorry for the Devil and 
Ms disciples, such as the good Le Chiffre. The Devil has 
a rotten time, and I always like to be on the side of the 
underdog. We don't give the poor chap a chance. 
There's a Good Book about goodness and how to be 
good and so forth, but there's no Evil Book about evil 
and how to be bad. The Devil had no prophets to write 
his Ten Commandments, and no team of authors to 
write his biography. His case has gone completely by 
default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy 
.. stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no 
book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its 
forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about 



evil people, folklore about evil people. All we have is the 
living example of the people who are least good, or our 
own intuition. 

'So,' continued Bond, warming to his argument, 'Le 
Chiffre was serving a wonderful purpose, a really vital 
purpose, perhaps the best and highest purpose of all. By 
his evil existence, which foolishly I have helped to 
destroy, he was creating a norm of badness by which, 
and by which alone, an opposite norm of goodness 
could exist. We were privileged, in our short knowledge 
of him, to see and estimate his wickedness, and we 
emerge from the acquaintanceship better and more vir- 
tuous men.' 

'Bravo,' said Mathis. 'I'm proud of you. You ought 
to be tortured every day. I really must remember to do 
something evil this evening. I must start at once. I have 
a few marks in my favour — only small ones, alas,' he 
added ruefully; 'but I shall work fast now that I have 
seen the light. What a splendid time I'm going to have! 
Now, let's see, where shall I start — murder, arson, 
rape? But no, these are peccadilloes. I must really con- 
sult the good Marquis de Sade. I am a child, an absolute 
child in these matters.' 

His face fell. 

'Ah, but our conscience, my dear Bond. What shall 
we do with him while we are committing some juicy sin? 
That is a problem. He is a crafty person this conscience 
and very old, as old as the first family of apes which 
gave birth to him. We must give that problem really 
careful thought, or we shall spoil our enjoyment. Of 
course, we should murder him first, but he is a tough 
bird. It will be difficult, but if we succeed we could be 
worse even than Le Chiffre. 

'For you, dear James, it is easy. You can start off by 
resigning. That was a brilliant thought of yours, a splen- 
did start to your new career. And so simple. Everyone 
has the revolver of resignation in his pocket. All you've 
got to do is pull the trigger, and you will have made a 



big hole in your country and your conscience at the 
same time. A murder and a suicide with one bullet! 
Splendid. What a difficult and glorious profession! As 
for me, I must start embracing the new cause at once.' 
He looked at his watch. 

'Good. I've started already. I'm half an hour late for 
a meeting with the chief of police. ' 
He rose to his feet, laughing. 

'That was most enjoyable, my dear James. You really 
ought to go on the halls. Now about that little problem 
of yours, this business of not knowing good men from 
bad men and villains from heroes, and so forth. It is, of 
course, a difficult problem in the abstract. The secret 
lies in personal experience, whether you're a Chinaman 
or an Englishman.' 

He paused at the door. 

'You admit that Le Chiffre did you personal evil, and 
that you would kill him if he appeared in front of you 

'Well, when you get back to London you will find 
there are other Le Chiffres seeking to destroy you and 
your friends and your country. M. will tell you about 
them. And now that you have seen a really evil man you 
will know how evil they can be, and you will go after 
them to destroy them in order to protect yourself and 
the people you love. You won't wait or argue about it. 
You know what they look like now and what they can 
do to people. You may be a bit more choosy about the 
jobs you fake on. You may want to be certain that the 
target really is black; but there are plenty of really black 
targets around. There's still plenty for you to do. And 
you'll do it. And when you fall in love and have a 
mistress or a wife and children to look after, it will seem 
all the easier.' 

Mathis opened the door and stopped on the 

'Surround yourself with human beings, my dear 
James. They are easier to fight for than principles. ' 



He laughed. 'But don't let me down and become 
human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful 

With a wave of the hand he shut the door. 
'Hey, ' shouted Bond. 

But the footsteps went quickly off down the passage. 



It was on the next day that Bond asked to see 

He had not wanted to see her before. He was told that 
every day she came to the nursing home and asked after 
him. Flowers had arrived from her. Bond didn't like 
flowers, and he told the nurse to give them to another 
patient. After this had happened twice, no more flowers 
came. Bond had not meant to offend her. He disliked 
having feminine things around him. Flowers seemed to 
ask for recognition of the person who had sent them, to 
be constantly transmitting a message of sympathy and 
affection. Bond found this irksome. He disliked being 
cosseted. It gave him claustrophobia. 

Bond was bored at the idea of having to explain some 
of this to Vesper. And he was embarrassed at having to 
ask one or two questions which mystified him, questions 
about Vesper's behaviour. The answers would almost 
certainly make her out to be a fool. Then he had his full 
report to M. to think about. In this he didn't want to 




have to criticize Vesper. It might easily cost her her job. 

But above all, he admitted to himself, he shirked the 
answer to a more painful question. 

The doctor had talked often to Bond about his in- 
juries. He had always told him that there would be no 
evil effects from the terrible battering his body had 
received. He had said that Bond's full health would 
return, and that none of his powers had been taken 
from him. But the evidence of Bond's eyes and his 
nerves refused these comforting assurances. He was still 
painfully swollen and bruised, and whenever the in- 
jections wore off he was in agony. Above all, his 
imagination had suffered. For an hour in that room 
with Le Chiffre the certainty of impotence had been 
beaten into him; and a scar had been left on his mind 
that could only be healed by experience. 

From the day when Bond first met Vesper in the Her- 
mitage bar, he had found her desirable; and he knew 
that if things had been different in the night club, if 
Vesper had responded in any way and if there had been 
no kidnapping, he would have tried to sleep with her 
that night. Even later, in the car and outside the villa 
when he had had other things to think about, his 
eroticism had been hotly aroused by the sight of her in- 
decent nakedness. 

And now, when he could see her again, he was afraid. 
Afraid that his senses and his body would not respond 
to her sensual beauty. Afraid that he would feel no stir 
of desire, and that his blood would stay cool. In his 
mind he had made this first meeting into a test, and he 
was shirking the answer. That was the real reason, he 
admitted, why he had waited to give his body a chance 
to respond, why he had put off . their first meeting for 
over a week. He would have liked to put off the meeting 
still further, but he explained to himself that his report 
must be written, that any day an emissary from London 
would come over and want to hear the full story, that 



today was as good as tomorrow, that anyway he might 
as well know the worst. 

So on the eighth day he asked for her, for the early 
morning when he was feeling refreshed and strong after 
the night's rest. 

For no reason at all, he had expected that she would 
show some sign of her experiences, that she would look 
pale and even ill. He was not prepared for the tall 
bronzed girl in a cream tussore frock with a black belt 
who came happily through the door and stood smiling 
at him. 

-Good heavens, Vesper/ he said with a wry gesture of 
welcome, 'you look absolutely splendid. You must 
thrive on disaster. How have you managed to get such a 
wonderful sunburn? ' 

'I feel very guilty,' she said sitting down beside him. 
'But I've been bathing every day while you've been lying 
here. The doctor said I was to and Head of S. said I was 
to; so— well, I just thought it wouldn't help you for me 
to be moping away all day long in my room. I've found 
a wonderful stretch of sand down the coast, and I take 
my lunch and go there every day with a book, and I 
don't come back till the evening. There's a bus that 
takes me there and back with only a short walk over the 
dunes, and I've managed to get over the fact that it's on 
the way down that road to the villa. ' 

Her voice faltered. 

The mention of the villa had made Bond's eyes 

She continued bravely, refusing to be defeated by 
Bond's lack of response. 

'The doctor says it won't be long before you're 
allowed up. I thought perhaps ... I thought perhaps I 
could take you down to this beach later on. The doctor 
says that bathing would be very good for you. ' 

Bond grunted. 

'God knows when I'll be able to bathe,' he said. 'The 


doctor's talking through his hat. And when I can bathe 
it would probably be better for me to bathe alone for a 
bit. I don't want to frighten anybody. Apart from 
anything else/ he glanced pointedly down the bed, 'my 
body's a mass of scars and bruises. But you enjoy your- 
self. There's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy your- 

Vesper was stung by the bitterness and injustice in his 

'I'm sorry,' she said. 'I just thought ... I was just 
trying . . .' 

Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She swallowed. 

'I wanted ... I wanted to help you get well.' 

Her voice strangled. She looked piteously at him, 
facing the accusation in his eyes and in his manner. 
■ Then she broke down and buried her face in her 
hands and sobbed. 

'I'm sorry,' she said in a muffled voice. 'I'm really 
sorry.' With one hand she searched for a handkerchief, 
in her bag. 'It's all my fault,' she dabbed at her eyes. 'I 
know it's all my fault. ' 

Bond at once relented. He put out a bandaged hand 
and laid it on her knee. 

'It's all right, Vesper. I'm sorry I was so rough. It's 
just that I was jealous of you in the sunshine while I'm 
stuck here. Directly I'm well enough I'll come with you, 
and you must show me your beach. Of course it's just 
what I want. It'll be wonderful to get out again.' 

She pressed his hand and stood up and walked over to 
the window. After a moment she busied herself with her 
makeup. Then she came back to the bed. 

Bond looked at her tenderly. Like all harsh, cold 
men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment. She was 
very beautiful, and he felt warm towards her. He 
decided to make his questions as easy as possible. 

He gave her a cigarette, and for a time they talked of 
the visit of Head of S. and of the reactions in London to 
the rout of LeChiffre. ; 



From what she said it was clear that the final object of 
the plan had been more than fulfilled. The story was 
still being splashed all over the world, and correspon- 
dents of most of the English and American papers had 
been at Royale trying to trace the Jamaican millionaire 
who had defeated Le Chiffre at the tables. They had got 
on to Vesper, but she had covered up well. Her story 
was that Bond had told her he was going on to Cannes 
and Monte Carlo to gamble'with his winnings. The hunt 
had moved down to the South of France. Mathis and 
the police had obliterated all other traces, and the 
papers were forced to concentrate on the Strasbourg 
angles and the chaos in the ranks of the French com- 

'By the way, Vesper,' said Bond after a time, 'what 
really happened \to you after you left me in the night 
club? All I saw was the actual kidnapping.' He told her 
briefly of the scene outside the Casino. 

'I'm afraid I must have lost my head,' said Vesper, 
avoiding Bond's eyes. 'When I couldn't see Mathis 
anywhere in the entrance hall I went outside, and the 
commissionaire asked me if I was Miss Lynd, and then 
told me the man who had sent in the note was waiting in 
a car down on the right of the steps. Somehow I wasn't 
particularly surprised. I'd only known Mathis for a day 
or two, and I didn't know how he worked, so I just 
walked down towards the car. It was away on the right 
and more or less in the shadows. Just as I was coming 
up to it, Le Chiffre's two men jumped out from behind 
one of the other cars in the row and simply scooped my 
skirt over my head. ' 

Vesper blushed. 

'It sounds a childish trick,'. she looked penitently at 
Bond, 'but it's really frightfully effective. One's a com- 
plete prisoner and although I screamed I don't expect 
any sound came out from under my skirt. I kicked out 
as hard as I could; but that was no use, as I couldn't see, 
and my arms were absolutely helpless. I was just a 



trussed chicken. They picked me up between them and 
shoved me into the back of the car. I went on struggling, 
of course, and when thenar started and while they were 
trying to tie a rope or something around the top of my 
skirt over my head, I managed to get an arm free and 
throw my bag through the window. I hope it was some 
Bond nodded. 

'It was really instinctive. I just thought you'd have no 
idea what had happened to me, and I was terrified. I did 
the first thing I could think of.' 

Bond knew that it was him they had been after and 
that, if Vesper hadn't thrown her bag out, they would 
probably have thrown it out themselves directly they 
saw him appear on the steps. , 

'It certainly helped,' said Bond. 'But why didn't you 
make any sign when they finally got me after, the" car 
smash, when I spoke to you? I was dreadfully worried. I 
thought they might have knocked you out or 

'I'm afraid I must have been unconscious,' said 
Vesper. 1 'I fainted once from lack of air, and when I 
came to they had cut a hole in front of my face. I must 
have fainted again. I don't remember much until we got 
to the villa. I really only gathered you had been captured 
when I heard you try and come after me in the passage. ' 

'And they didn't touch you?' asked. Bond. 'They 
didn't try and mess about with you while I was being 
beaten up?' 

'No,' said Vesper. 'They just left me in an armchair. 
They drank and played cards— belotte, I think it was 
from what I heard — and then they went to sleep. I sup- 
pose that was how SMERSH got them. They bound my 
legs and put me on a chair in a corner facing the wall, 
and I saw nothing of SMERSH. I heard some odd noises. 
I expect they woke me up. And then what sounded like 
one of them falling off his chair. Then there were some 
soft footsteps, and a door closed; and then nothing hap- 



pened until Mathis and the police burst in hours later. I 
slept most of the time. I had no idea what had happened 
to you, but'— she faltered— 'I did once hear a terrible 
scream. It sounded very far away. At least, I think it 
must have been a scream. At the time I thought it might 
have been a nightmare.' 

.■'I'm afraid that must have been me,' said Bond. 

Vesper, put out a hand and touched one of his. Her 
eyes filled with tears. 

'It's horrible,' she said. 'The things they did to you. 
And it was all my fault. If only . . . ' 

She buried her face in her hands. 

'That's all right,' said Bond comfortingly. 'It's no 
good crying over spilt milk. It's all over now, and thank 
heavens they let you alone:' He patted her knee. 'They 
were going to start on you when they'd got me really 
softened up. We've got a lot to thank SMERSH for. Now, 
come on, let's forget about it. It certainly wasn't 
anything to do with you. Anybody could have fallen for 
that note. Anyway, it*s all water over the dam,' he 
added cheerfully. 

Vesper looked at him gratefully through her tears. 
'You really promise?' she asked. 'I thought you would 
never forgive me. I . . . I'll try and make it up to you. 
Somehow.' She looked at him. 

Somehow? thought Bond to himself. He looked at 
her. She was smiling at him. He smiled back, 

'You'd better look out,' he said. 'I may hold you to 

She looked into his eyes and said nothing, but the 
enigmatic challenge was back. She pressed his hand and 
rose. 'A promise is a promise,' she said. 

This time they both knew what the promise was. 

She picked up her bag from the bed and walked to the 
door. • 

'Shall I come tomorrow?? She looked at Bond 

'Yes, please, Vesper,' said Bond. 'I'd like that. Please 



do some more exploring. It will be fun to think of what 
we can do when I get up. Will you think of some 

'Yes,' said Vesper. 'Please get well quickly.' 

They gazed at each other for a second. Then she went 
out and closed the door, and Bond listened until the 
sound of her footsteps had died away. 


The Hastening Saloon 

From that day Bond' s recovery was rapid . 

He sat up in bed and wrote his report to M. He made 
light of what he still considered amateurish behaviour 
on the part of Vesper. By juggling with the emphasis, he 
made the kidnapping sound much more Machiavellian 
than it had been. He praised Vesper's coolness and com- 
posure throughout the whole episode without saying „ 
that he had found some of her actions unaccountable. 

Every day Vesper came to see him, and he looked for- 
ward to these visits with excitement. She talked happily 
of her adventures of the day before, her explorations 
down the coast, and the restaurants where she had 
eaten. She had made friends with the chief of police and 
with one of the directors of the Casino, and it was they 
who took her out in the evening and occasionally lent 
her a car during the day. She kept an eye on the repairs 
to the Bentley which had been towed down to coach- 
builders at Rouen, and she even arranged for some new 
clothes to be sent out from Bond's London flat. 




Nothing survived from his original wardrobe. Every 
stitch had been cut to ribbons in the search for the forty 
million francs. 

The Le Chiffre affair was never mentioned between 
them. She occasionally told Bond amusing stories of 
Head of S.'s office. She had apparently transferred 
there from the W.R.N. S. And he told her of some of his 
adventures in the Service. 

He found he could speak to her easily, and he was 

With most women his manner was a mixture of 
taciturnity and passion. The lengthy approaches to a 
seduction bored him almost as much as the subsequent 
mess of disentanglement. He found something grisly in 
the inevitability of the pattern of each affair. The con- 
ventional parabola — sentiment, the touch of the hand, 
the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the 
climax in the bed, then more bed, then less bed, then the 
boredom, the tears, and the final bitterness— was to him 
shameful and hypocritical. Even more he shunned the 
mise-en-scene for each of these acts in the play — the 
meeting at a party, the restaurant, the taxi, his flat, her 
flat, then the week-end by the sea, then the flats again, 
then the furtive alibis and the final angry farewell on 
some doorstep in the rain. 

But with Vesper there could be none of this. 

In the dull room and the boredom of his treatment 
her presence was each day an oasis of pleasure, 
something to look forward to. In their talk there was 
nothing but companionship with a distant undertone of 
passion. In the background there was the unspoken zest 
of the promise which, in due course and in their own 
time, would be met. Over all there brooded the shadow 
of his injuries and the tantalus of their slow healing. 

Whether Bond liked it or not, the branch had already 
escaped his knife and was ready to burst into flower. 

With enjoyable steps Bond recovered. He was 
allowed up. Then he was allowed to sit in the garden. 



Then he could go for a short walk, then for a long drive. 
And then the afternoon came when the doctor appeared 
on a flying visit from Paris and pronounced him well 
again. His clothes were brought round by Vesper, 
farewells were exchanged with the nurses, and a hired 
car drove them away. 

It was three weeks from the day when he had been on 
the edge of death, and how it was July and the hot 
summer shimmered down the coast and out at sea. Bond 
clasped the moment to him. 

Their destination was to be a surprise for him. He had 
not wanted to go back to one of the big hotels in Royale, 
and Vesper said she would find somewhere away from 
the town. But she insisted on being mysterious about it 
and only said that she had found a place he would like. 
He was happy to be in her hands, but he covered up his 
surrender by referring to their destination as 'Trou sur 
Mer' (she admitted it was by the sea), and lauding the 
rustic delights of outside lavatories, bedbugs, and 

Their drive was spoiled by a curious incident. 

While they followed the coast-road in the direction of 
Les Noctambules, Bond described to her his wild chase 
in the Bentley, finally pointing out the curve he had 
taken before the crash and the exact place where the 
vicious carpet of spikes had been laid. He slowed the car 
down and leant out to show her the deep cuts in, the tar- 
mac made by the rims of the wheels and the broken 
branches in the hedge and the patch of oil where the car 
had come to rest. 

But all the time she was distrait and fidgety and com- 
mented only in monosyllables. Once or twice he caught 
her glancing in the driving-mirror; but when he had a 
chartce to look back through the rear window they had 
just rounded a bend, and he could see nothing. 

Finally he took her hand. - 

'Something's on your mind, Vesper,' he said. ' 
She gave him a taut, bright smile. 'It's nothing. Ab- 



solutely nothing. I had a silly idea We were being' 
followed. It's just nerves, I suppose. This road is full of 

Under cover of a short laugh she looked back again. 

'Look. ' There was an edge of panic in her voice. 

Obediently Bond turned his head. Sure enough, a " 
quarter of a mile away, a black saloon was coming after ' 
them at a good pace. 

Bond laughed. 

'We can't be the only people using this road,' he said. 
'Anyway, who wants to follow us? We've done nothing 
wrong.' He patted her hand. 'It's a middle-aged com- 
mercial traveller in car-polish on his way to Le Havre. 
He's probably thinking of his lunch and his mistress in 
Paris. Really, Vesper, you mustn't think evil of the in- 

'I expect you're right,' she said nervously. 'Anyway, 
we're nearly there.' 

She relapsed into silence and gazed out of the 

Bond could still feel her tenseness. He smiled to him- 
self at what he took to be simply a hangover from their 
recent adventures. But he decided to humour her, and 
when they came to a small lane leading towards the sea 
and slowed to turn down it, he told the driver to stop 
directly they were off the main road. 

Hidden by the tall hedge, they watched together 
through the rear window. 

Through the quiet hum of summer noises they could 
hear the car approaching. Vesper dug her fingers into 
his arm. The pace of the car did not alter as it ap- 
proached their hiding-place and they had only a brief 
glimpse of a man's profile as a black saloon tore by. 

It was true that he seemed to glance quickly towards 
them, but above them in the hedge there was a gaily 
painted sign point down the lane announcing 
'L'Auberge du Fruit Defendu, crustaces, fritures.' It 



was obvious to Bond that it was this that had caught the 
driver's eye. ^ 

As the rattle of the car's exhaust diminished down the 
road, Vesper sank back into her corner. Her face was 

'He looked at us,' she said. 'I told you so. I knew we 
were being followed. Now they know where we are.' 

Bond could not contain his impatience. 'Bunkum, ' he 
said. 'He was looking at that sign.' He pointed it out to 

She looked slightly relieved. 'Do you really think so?' 
she asked. 'Yes. I see. Of course, you must be right. 
Come on. I'm sorry to be so stupid. I don't know what 
came over me.' 

She leant forward and talked to the driver through the 
partition, and the car moved on. She sank back and 
turned a bright face towards Bond. The colour had 
almost come back to her cheeks. 'I really am sorry. It's 
just that — it's that I can't believe everything's over and 
there's no one to be frightened of any more.' She 
pressed his hand. 'You must think me very stupid.' 

'Of course not,' said Bond. 'But really nobody could 
be interested in us now. Forget it all. The whole job's 
finished, wiped up. This is our holiday, and there's not 
a cloud in the sky. Is there? ' he persisted. 

'No, of course not.' She shook herself slightly. 'I'm 
mad. Now we'll be there in a second. I do hope you're 
going to like it.' 

They both leant forward. Animation was back in her 
face, and the incident left only the smallest question 
mark hanging in the air. Even that faded as they came 
through the dunes and saw the sea and the modest little 
inn amongst the pines. 

'It's not very grand, I'm afraid,' said Vesper. ;But it's 
very clean, and the food's wonderful.' She looked at 
him anxiously. - 

She need not have worried. Bond loved the place at 



first sight — the terrace leading almost to the high-tide 
mark, the low two-storied house With gay brick-red 
awnings over the windows, and the crescent-shaped bay 
of blue water and golden sand. How many times in his 
life would he have given anything to have turned off a 
main road to find a lost corner like this where he could 
let the world go by and live in the sea from dawn to 
dusk! And now he was to have a whole week of this. 
And of Vesper. In his mind he fingered the necklace of 
the days to come. 

They drew up in the courtyard behind the house, and 
the proprietor and his wife came out to greet them. 

Monsieur Versoix was a middle-aged man with one 
arm. The other he had lost fighting with the Free French 
in Madagascar. He was a friend of the chief of police of 
Royale, and it was the Commissaire who had suggested 
the place to Vesper and had spoken to the proprietor on 
the telephone. As a result, nothing was going to be too 
good for them. 

Madame Versoix had been interrupted in the middle 
of preparing dinner. She wore an apron and held a 
wooden spoon in one hand. She was younger than her 
husband, chubby and handsome and warm-eyed. In- 
stinctively Bond guessed that they had no children and 
that they gave their thwarted affection to their friends 
and some regular customers, and probably to some pets. 
He thought that their life was probably something of a 
struggle, and that the inn must be very lonely in win- 
tertime with the big seas and the noise of the wind in the 

The proprietor showed them to their rooms. 

Vesper's was a double room, and Bond was next 
door, at the corner of the house, with one window 
looking out to sea and another with a view of the distant 
arm of the bay. There was a bathroom between them. 
Everything was spotless, and sparsely comfortable. 

The proprietor was pleased when they both showed 
their delight. He said that dinner would be at seven- 



thirty and that Madame la patrOnne was preparing 
broiled lobsters with melted butter. He was sorry that 
they were so quiet just then. It was Tuesday. There 
would be more people at the week-end. The season had 
not been good. Generally they had plenty of English 
people staying, but times were difficult over there and 
the English just came for a week-end at Royale and then 
went home after losing their money at the Casino. It was 
not like the old days. He shrugged his shoulders 
philosophically. But then no day was like the day 
before, and no century like the previous one, and . . . 
'Quite so, ' said Bond. 


Tide of Passion 

They were talking on the threshold of Vesper's 
room. When the proprietor left them, Bond pushed her 
inside and closed the door. Then he put his hands on her 
shoulders and kissed her on both cheeks. 
'This is heaven, ' he said. 

Then he saw that her eyes were shining. Her hands 
came up and rested on his forearms. He stepped right up 
against her, and his arms dropped round her waist. Her 
head went back, and her mouth opened beneath his. 

'My darling,' he said. He plunged his mouth down 
onto hers and felt her respond, shyly at first, then more 
passionately. His hand slipped down her back and 
pressed her body fiercely to his. Panting, she slipped her 
mouth away and they clung together; he brushed her ear 
with his lips and felt the firm warmth of her breasts 
against him. Then he reached up and seized her hair and 
bent her head back until he could kiss her again. She 
pushed him away and sank back exhausted on to the 
bed. For a moment they looked at each other hungrily. 




'I'm sorry, Vesper,' he said. 'I didn't mean to then.' 
• She shook her head, dumb with the storm which had 
passed through her. 

He came and sat beside her, and they looked at each 
other with lingering tenderness as the tide of passion 
ebbed in their veins. 

She leant over and kissed him on the corner of the 
mouth, then she brushed the black comma of hair back 
from his damp forehead. , 

'My darling,' she said. 'Give me a cigarette. I don't 
know where my bag is.' She looked vaguely round the 

' Bond lit one for her and put it between her lips. She 
took a deep lungful of smoke and let it pour out through 
her mouth with a slow sigh. 

Bond put his arm round her, but she got up and 
walked over to the window. She stood there with her 
back to him. 

Bond looked down at his hands and saw they were 
still trembling. 

'It's going to take some time to get ready for dinner,' 
said Vesper, still not looking at him. 'Why don't you go 
and bathe? I'll unpack for you.' 

Bond left the bed and came and stood close against 
her. He put his arms round her and put a hand over each 
breast. They filled his hands and the nipples were hard 
against his fingers. She put her hands over his and 
pressed them into her, but she still looked away from 
him out of the window. 

'Not now,' she said in a low voice 

Bond bent and burrowed his lips into the nape of her 
neck. For a moment he strained her hard to him, then he 
let her go. 

'All right, Vesper,' he said. 

He walked over to the door and looked back. She had 
not moved. For some reason he thought she was crying. 
He took a step towards her and then realized that there 
was nothing to say between them then. 


'My love,' he said. 

Then he went out and shut the door. 

Bond walked along to his room and sat down on the 
bed. He felt weak from the passion which had swept 
through his body. He was torn between the desire to fall 
back full-length on the bed and his longing to be cooled 
and revived by the sea. He played with the choice for a 
moment, then he went over to his suitcase and took out 
white linen bathing-trunks and a dark blue pyjama-suit. 

Bond had always disliked pyjamas and had slept 
naked until in Hong Kong at the end of the war he came 
across the perfect compromise. This was a pyjama-coat 
which came almost down to the knees. It had no 
buttons, but there was a loose belt round the waist. The 
sleeves were wide and short, ending just above the 
elbow. The result was cool and comfortable, and now 
when he slipped the coat on over his trunks, all his 
bruises and scars were hidden except the thin white 
bracelets on wrists and ankles and the mark of SMERSH 
on his right hand. i 

He slipped his feet into a pair of dark-blue leather 
sandals and went downstairs and out of the house and 
across the terrace to the beach. As he passed across the 
front of the house he thought of Vesper; but he 
refrained from looking up to see if she was still standing 
at the window. If she saw him, she gave no sign. 

He walked along the waterline on the hard golden 
sand until he was out of sight of the inn. Then he threw 
off his pyjama-coat .and took a short run and a quick 
flat dive into the small waves. The beach shelved quickly 
and he kept under water as long as he could, swimming 
with powerful strokes and feeling the soft coolness all 
over him. Then he surfaced and brushed the hair out of 
his eyes. It was nearly seven, and the sun had lost much 
of its heat. Before long it would sink beneath the further 
arm of the bay; but now it was straight in his eyes, and 
he turned on his back and swam away from it so that he 
could keep it with him as long as possible. 



When he came ashore nearly a mile down the bay the 
shadows had already engulfed his distant pyjamas; but 
he knew he had time to lie on the hard sand and dry 
before the tide of dusk reached him. 

He took off his bathing trunks and looked down at 
his body. There were only a few traces left of his in- 
juries. He shrugged his shoulders and lay down with his 
limbs spread out in a star and gazed up at the empty 
blue sky and thought of Vesper. 

His feelings for her were confused, and he was im- 
patient with the confusion. They had been so simple. He 
had intended to sleep with her as soon as he could, 
because he desired her and also because — he admitted it 
to himself— he wanted coldly to put the repairs to his 
body to the final test. He thought they would sleep 
together for a few days and then he might see something 
of her in London. Then would come the inevitable 
disengagement which would be all the easier because of 
their positions in the Service. If it was not easy, he could 
go off on an assignment abroad or— which was also in 
his mind — he could resign and travel to different parts 
of the world as he had always wanted. 

But somehow she had crept under his skin, and over 
the last two weeks his feelings had gradually changed. 

He found her companionship easy and unexacting. 
There was something enigmatic about her which was a 
constant stimulus. She gave little of her real personality 
away, and he felt that, however long they were together, 
there would always be a private room inside her which 
he could never invade. She was thoughtful and full of 
consideration without being slavish and without com- 
promising her arrogant spirit. And now he knew that 
she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the 
conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in 
her, would each time have the tang of rape. Loving her 
physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without 
the anticlimax of arrival. She would surrender herself 
avidly, he thought, and greedily enjoy all the intimacies 

158 . -| CASINO ROYALE . 

of the bed without ever allowing herself to be possessed. 

Naked, Bond lay and Jxied to push away the con- 
clusions he read in the sky. He turned his head and 
looked down the beach and saw that the shadows of the 
headland were almost reaching for him. 

He stood up and brushed off as much of the sand as 
he could reach. He reflected that he would have a bath 
when he got in and he' absent-mindedly picked up his 
trunks and started walking back along the beach. It was 
only when he reached his pyjama-coat and bent to pick 
it up that he realized he was still naked. Without 
bothering about the trunks, he slipped on the light coat 
and walked on to the hotel. 

At that moment his mind was made up. 


'Fruit D§fendu' 

When he got back to his room he was touched to 
find all his belongings put away and in the bathroom his 
toothbrush and shaving things neatly arranged at one 
end of the glass shelf over the washbasin. At the other 
end were Vesper's toothbrush and one or two small 
bottles and a jar of face-cream. 

He glanced at the bottles and was surprised to see that 
one contained Nembutal sleeping pills. Perhaps her 
nerves had been more shaken by the events at the villa 
than he had imagined. 

The bath had been filled for him, and there was a new 
flask of some expensive pine bath-essence on a chair 
beside it with his towel. 

'Vesper,' he called. 


'You really are the limit. You make me feel like an ex- 
pensive gigolo.' 

'I was told to look after you. I'm only doing what I 
was told.' 




'Darling, the bath's absolutely right. Will you marry \ 

She snorted. 'You need a slave, not a wife. ' 
'I want you.' 

'Well, I want my lobster and champagne, so hurry 

'AH right, all right, ' said Bond. 
. He dried himself and dressed in a white shirt and dark 
blue slacks. He hoped that she would be dressed as 
simply, and he was pleased when, without knocking, she 
appeared in the doorway wearing a blue linen shirt 
which had faded to the colour of her eyes and a dark red 
skirt in pleated cotton. 

'I couldn't wait. I was famished. My room's over the 
kitchen, and I've been tortured by the wonderful 

He came over and put his arm round her. 

She took his hand, and together they went downstairs 
and out on to the terrace where their table had been laid 
in the light cast by the empty dining-room. 

The champagne which Bond had ordered on their 
arrival stood in a plated wine-cooler beside their table, 
and Bond poured out two full glasses. Vesper busied 
herself with a delicious homemade liver pate and helped 
them both to the crisp French bread and the thick 
squares of deep yellow butter set in chips of ice. 

They looked at each other and drank deeply, and 
Bond filled their glasses again to the rim. 

While they ate Bond told her of his bathe, and they 
talked of what they would do in the morning. All 
through the meal 7 they left unspoken their feelings for 
each other, but in Vesper's eyes as much as in Bond's 
there was excited anticipation of the night. They let their 
hands and feet touch from time to time as if to ease the 
tension in their bodies. 

When the lobster had come and gone and the second 
bottle of champagne was half empty and they had just 



ladled thick cream over their fraises des bois, Vesper 
gave a deep sigh of contentment. 

'I'm behaving like a pig/ she said happily. 'You 
always give me all the things I like best. I've never been 
so spoiled before.' She gazed across the terrace at the 
moonlit bay. 'I wish I deserved it.' Her voice had a wry 

'What do you mean?' asked Bond surprised. , 

'Oh, I don't know. I suppose people get what they 
deserve, so perhaps I do deserve it.' 

She looked at him and smiled. Her eyes narrowed 
quizzically. ' 

'You really don't know much about me,' she said 

Bond was surprised by the undertone of seriousness in 
her voice. 

'Quite enough,' he said laughing. 'All I need until 
tomorrow and the next day and the next. You don't' 
know much about me for the matter of that.' He poured 
out more champagne. 
. Vesper looked at him thoughtfully. 

'People are islands,' she said. 'They don't really 
touch. However close they are, they're really quite 
separate. Even if they've been married for fifty years. ' 

Bond thought with dismay that she must be going into 
a 'vin triste.' Tdo much champagne had made her 
melancholy. But suddenly she gave a happy laugh. , 
' 'Don't look so worried.' She leaned forward and put 
her hand over his. 'I was only being sentimental. 
Anyway, my island feels very close to your island 
tonight.' She took a sip of champagne. ' 

Bond laughed, relieved. 'Let's join up and make a 
peninsula,' he said. 'Now, directly we've finished the 

'No, ' she said, flirting^ 'I must have coffee. ' 

'And brandy,' countered Bond. : ' 

The small shadow had passed. The second small 



shadow. This too left a tiny question-mark hanging in 
the air. It quickly dissolved as warmth and intimacy en- 
closed them again. 

When they had had their coffee and Bond was sipping 
his brandy, Vesper picked up her bag and came and 
stood behind him. 

'I'm tired,' she said, resting a hand on his shoulder. 

He reached up and held it there, and they stayed 
motionless for a moment. She bent down and lightly 
brushed his hair with her lips. Then she was gone, and a 
few seconds later the light came on in her room. 

Bond smoked and waited until it had gone out. Then 
he followed her, pausing only to say good night to the 
proprietor and his wife and thank them for the dinner. 
They exchanged compliments, and he went upstairs. 

It was only half-past nine when he stepped into her 
room from the bathroom and closed the door behind 

The moonlight shone through the half-closed shutters 
and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her 
body on the broad bed. 

Bond awoke in his own room at dawn, and for a time 
he lay and stroked his memories. 

Then he got quietly out of bed, and in his pyjama- 
coat he crept past Vesper's door and out of the house to 
the beach. 

The sea was smooth and quiet in the sunrise. The 
small pink waves idly licked the sand. It was cold, but he 
took off his jacket and wandered naked along the edge 
of the sea to the point where he had bathed the evening 
before, then he walked slowly and deliberately into the 
water until it was just below his chin. He took his feet 
off the bottom and sank, holding his nose with one 
hand and shutting his eyes, feeling the cold water comb 
his body and his hair. 

The mirror of the bay was unbroken except where it 
seemed a fish had jumped. Under the water he imagined 

the tranquil scene and wished *th«t Vesper could' just 
then come through the pines .and be astonished to see 
him suddenly erupt from the empty seascape. 

When after a full minute he came to the surface in a 
froth of spray, he was disappointed. There was no one 
in sight. For a time he swam and drifted, and then when 
the sun seemed hot enough, he came in to the beach and 
lay on his back and revelled in the body which the night 
had given back to him. 

As on the evening before, he stared up into the empty 
sky and saw the same answer there. 

After a while he rose and walked back slowly along 
the beach to his pyjama-coat. 

That day he would ask Vesper to marry him. He was 
quite certain. It was only a question of choosing the 
right moment. 



As he walked quietly from the terrace into the 
half^-darkness of the still shuttered dining-room, he was 
surprised to see Vesper emerge from the glass-fronted 
telephone booth near the front door and softly turn up 
the stairs towards their rooms. 

'Vesper,' he called, thinking she must have had some 
urgent message which might concern them both. 

She turned quickly, a hand up to her mouth. 

For a moment longer than necessary she stared at 
him, her eyes wide. 

'What is it, darling?' he asked, vaguely troubled and 
fearing some crisis in their lives. 

'Oh,' she said breathlessly, 'you made me jump. It 
was only ... I was just telephoning to Mathis. To 
Mathis,' she repeated. 'I wondered if he could get me 
another frock. You know, from that girl-friend I told 
you about. The vendeuse. You see' — she talked quickly, 
her words coming out in a persuasive jumble — 'I've 




really got nothing to wear, I thought I'd catch him at 
home before he went to the office. I don't know my 
friend's telephone number, and I thought it would be a 
surprise for you. I didn't want you to hear me moving 
and wake you up. Is the water nice? Have you bathed? 
You ought to have waited for me. ' 

'It's wonderful,' said Bond, deciding to relieve her 
mind, though irritated with her obvious guilt over this 
childish mystery. 'You must go in, and then we'll have 
breakfast on the terrace. I'm ravenous. I'm sorry I 
made you jump. I was just startled to see anyone about 
at this hour of the morning." 

He put his arm round her; but she disengaged herself, 
and moved quickly on up the stairs. : 

'It was such a surprise to see you,' she said, trying to 
cover the incident up with a light touch. 

'You looked like, a ghost, a drowned man, with the 
hair down over your eyes like;: that.' She laughed 
harshly. Hearing the harshness, she turned the laugh 
into a cough. ; . 

'I hope I haven't caught cold/ she said. 

She kept on patching up the edifice of her deceit until 
Bond wanted to spank her and tell her to relax and tell 
the truth. Instead he just gave her a reassuring pat on 
the back outside her room and told her to hurry up and 
have her bathe. 

Then he went on to his room. * 

That was the end of the integrity of their love. The 
succeeding days were a shambles of falseness and 
hypocrisy, mingled with her tears and moments of 
animal passion to which she abandoned herself with 
greed made indecent by the hollowness of their days. 

Several times Bond tried to break down the dreadful 
walls of mistrust. Again and again he brought Up the 
subject of the telephone call; but she obstinately 
bolstered Up her story with embellishments which Bond 
knew she had thought out afterwards. She even accused 
Bond of thinking she had another lover. 



These scenes always ended in her bitter tears and in 
moments almost of hysteria. 

Each day the atmosphere became more hateful . 

It seemed fantastic to Bond that human relationships 
could collapse into dust overnight, and he searched his 
mind again and again for a reason. 

He felt that Vesper was just as horrified as he was, 
and, if anything, her misery seemed greater than his. 
But the mystery of the telephone conversation which 
Vesper angrily, almost fearfully it seemed to Bond, 
refused to explain was a shadow which grew darker with 
other small mysteries and reticences. 

Already at luncheon on that day things got worse. 

After a breakfast which was an effort for both of 
them, Vesper said she had a headache and would stay in 
her room out of the sun. Bond took a book and walked 
for miles down the beach. By the time he returned he 
had argued to himself that they would be able to sort the 
problem out over lunch. 

Directly they sat down, he apologized gaily for having 
startled her at the telephone booth and then he 
dismissed the subject and went on to describe what he 
had seen on his walk. But Vesper was distrait and com- 
mented only in monosyllables. She toyed With her food, 
and she avoided Bond's eyes and gazed past him with an 
air of preoccupation. 

When she had failed once or twice to respond to some 
conversational gambit or other, Bond also relapsed into 
silence and occupied himself with his own gloomy 

All of a sudden she stiffened. Her fork fell with a 
clatter on to the edge of her plate and then noisily off 
the table on to the terrace. 

Bond looked up. She had gone as white as a sheet, 
and she was looking over his shoulder with terror in her 

Bond turned his head and saw that a man had just 
taken his place at a table on the opposite side of the 

'BLACK-PATCH* - ■ 1j37 

terrace, well away from them. He seemed ordinary 
enough, perhaps rather sombrely dressed; but in his first 
quick glance Bond put him down as some businessman 
on his way along the coast who had just happened on 
the inn or had picked it out of the Michelin. 

'What is it, darling? ' he asked anxiously. 

Vesper's eyes never moved from the distant figure. 

'It's the man in the car,' she said in a stifled voice. 
'The man who was following us. I know it is. ' 

Bond looked again over his shoulder. The patron was 
discussing the menu with the new customer. It was a 
perfectly normal scene. They exchanged smiles over 
some item on the menu and apparently agreed that it 
would suit, for the patron took the card and with, Bond 
guessed, a final exchange about the wine, withdrew. 

The man seemed to realize that he was being watched. 
He looked up and gazed incuriously at them for a 
moment. Then he reached for a brief-case on the chair 
beside him, extracted a newspaper, and started to read 
it, his elbows propped up on the table. 

When the man had turned his face towards them, 
Bond noticed that he had a black patch over one eye. It 
was not tied with a tape across, the eye, but screwed in 
like a monocle. Otherwise he seemed a friendly middle- 
aged man, with dark brown hair brushed straight back 
and, as Bond had seen while he was talking to the 
patron, particularly large, white teeth. 

He turned back to Vesper. 'Really, darling. He looks 
very innocent. Are you sure he's the same man? We 
can' t expect to have this place entirely to ourselves. ' 

Vesper's face was still a white mask. She was clutching 
the edge of the table with both hands. He thought she 
was going to faint and almost rose to come round to 
her, but she made a gesture to stop him. Then she 
reached for a glass of wine and took a deep draught. 
The glass rattled on her teeth, and she brought up her 
other hand to help. Then she put the glass down. 

She looked at him with dull eyes. 



'I know it's the same.' 

He tried to reason with her, but she paid no attention. 
After glancing once or twice over his shoulder with eyes 
that held a curious submissiveness, she said that her 
headache was still bad and that she would spend the 
afternoon in her room. She left the table and walked in- 
doors without a backward glance. 

Bond was determined to set her mind at rest. He 
ordered coffee to be brought to the table, and then he 
rose and walked swiftly through to the courtyard. The 
black Peugeot which stood there might indeed have 
been the saloon they had seen, but it might equally have 
been one of a million others on the French roads. He 
took a quick glance inside, but the interior, was empty 
and when he tried the boot, it was locked. He made a 
note of the Paris number-plate; then he went quickly to 
the lavatory adjoining the dining-room, pulled the 
chain, and walked out on to the terrace. 

The man was eating and didn't look up. 

Bond sat down in Vesper's chair so that he could 
watch the other table. . 

A few minutes later the man asked for the bill, paid it, 
andieft. Bond heard the Peugeot start up, and soon the 
noise of its exhaust had disappeared in the direction of 
the road to Royale. 

When the patron came back to his table, Bond ex- 
plained that Madame had unfortunately a slight touch 
of sunstroke. After the patron had expressed his regret 
and enlarged on the dangers of going out of doors in 
almost any weather, Bond casually asked about the 
other customer. 'He reminds me of a friend who also 
lost an eye. They wear similar black patches.' 

The patron answered that the man was a stranger. He 
had been pleased with his lunch and had said that he 
would be passing that way again in a day or two and 
would take another meal at the auberge. Apparently he 
was Swiss, which could also be seen from his accent. He 
was a traveller in watches. It was shocking to have only 



one eye. The strain of keeping that patch in place all day 
long. He supposed one got used to it. 

'It is indeed very sad,' said Bond. 'You also have been 
unlucky,' he gestured to the proprietor's empty sleeve. 
'I myself was very fortunate. ' 

For a time they talked about the war. Then Bond 

'By the way,' he said, 'Madame had an early 
telephone call which I must remember to pay for. Paris. 
An Elysee number, I think,' he added, remembering 
that that was Mathis's exchange. 

'Thank you, monsieur, but the matter is regulated. I 
was speaking to Royale this morning and the exchange 
mentioned that one of my guests had put through a call 
to Paris and that there had been no answer. They 
wanted to know if Madame would like the call kept in. 
I'm afraid the matter escaped my mind. Perhaps Mon- 
sieur would mention it to Madame. But, let me see, it 
was an Invalides number the exchange referred to. ' 


'Sleep Well, My Darling' 

The next two days were much the same. 

On the fourth day of their stay Vesper went off early 
to Royale. A taxi came and fetched her and brought her 
back. She said she needed some medicine. 

That night she made a special effort to be gay. She 
drank a lot, and when they went upstairs she led him 
into her bedroom and made passionate love to him. 
Bond's body responded; but afterwards she cried bit- 
terly into her pillow, and Bond went to his room in grim 
despair. < 

He could hardly sleep, and in the early hours he heard 
her door open softly. Some small sounds came from 
downstairs. He was sure she was in the telephone-booth. 
Very soon he heard her door softly close, and he guessed 
that again there had been no reply from Paris. 

This was Saturday. 

On Sunday the man with the black patch was back 
again. Bond knew it, directly he looked up from his 
lunch and saw her face. He had told her all that the 




patron had told him, withholding only the man's 
statement that he might be back. He had thought it 
would worry her. 

He had also telephoned Mathis in Paris and checked 
on the Peugeot. It had been hired from a respectable 
firm two weeks before. The customer had had a Swiss 
triptique. His name was Adoiph Gettler. He had given a 
bank in Zurich as his address. 

Mathis had got on to the Swiss police. Yes, the bank 
had an account in his name. It was little used- Herr 
Gettler was understood to be connected with the watch 
industry. Inquiries could be pursued if there was a 
charge against him. 

Vesper had shrugged her shoulders at the in- 

This time when the man appeared she left her lunch in 
the middle and went straight up to her room. 

Bond made up his mind. When he had finished, he 
followed her. Both her doors were locked, and when he 
made her let him in he saw that she had been sitting in 
the shadows by the window— watching, he presumed. 

Her face was of cold stone. He led her to the bed and 
drew her down beside him. They sat stiffly, like people 
in a railway carriage. ' 

'Vesper,' he said, holding her cold hands in his, 'we 
can't go on like this. We must finish with it. We are tor- 
turing each other, and there is only one way of stopping 
it. Either you must tell me what all this is about or we 
must leave. At once.' 

She said nothing, and her hands were lifeless in his. 

'My darling,' he said. 'Won't you tell me? Do you 
know, that first morning I was coming back to ask you 
to marry me. Can't we go back to the beginning again? 
What is this dreadful nightmare that is killing us? ' 

At first she said nothing, then a tear rolled slowly 
down her cheek. 

'You mean you would have married me?' 

Bond nodded. 


'Oh, my God!' she cried. 'My God!' She turned and 
clutched him, pressing her face against his chest. 

He held her closely to him. 'Tell me, my love,' he j 
said. 'Tell me what's hurting you.' 

Her sobs became quieter. '•■ 

'Leave me for a little,' she said. A new note had come 
' into her voice: a note of resignation. 'Let me think for a 
little.' She kissed his face and held it between her hands. 
She looked at him with yearning. 'Darling, I'm trying to 
do what's best for us. Please believe me. But it's 
terrible. I'm in a frightful . . .' She wept again, clutching 
him like a child with nightmares. 

He soothed her, stroking the long black hair and 
kissing her softly. 

'Go away now,' she said. 'I must have time to think. 
We've got to do something.' 

She took his handkerchief and dried her eyes. 

She led him to the door, and there they held tightly to 
each other. Then he kissed her again, and she shut the 
door behind him. 

That evening most of the gayness and intimacy of 
their first night came back. She was excited, and some 
of her laughter sounded brittle;, but Bond was deter- 
mined to fall in with her new mood, and it was only at 
the end of dinner that he had made a passing remark 
which made her pause. 

She put her hand over his. 

'Don't talk about it now,' she said. 'Forget it now. 
It's all past. I'll tell you about it in the morning.' 

She looked at him, and suddenly her eyes were full of 
tears. She found a handkerchief in her bag and dabbed 
at them. 

'Give me some more champagne,' she said. She gave 
a queer little laugh. 'I want a lot more. You drink much 
more than me. It's not fair.' 

They sat and drank together until the bottle was 
finished. Then she got to her feet. She knocked against 
her chair and giggled. 



'I do believe I'm tight,' she said. 'How disgraceful! 
Please, James, don't be ashamed of me. I do so want to 
be gay. And I am gay.' 

She stood behind him and ran her fingers through his 
black hair. 

'Come up quickly, ' she said. 

She blew a kiss at him and was gone. 

For two hours they made slow, sweet love in a mood 
of happy passion which, the day before, Bond would 
never have thought they could regain. The barriers of 
self-consciousness and mistrust seemed to have 
vanished; the words they spoke to each other were in- 
nocent and true again, and there was no shadow be- 
tween them. 

'You must go now,' said Vesper when Bond had slept 
for a while in her arms. 

As if to take back her words she held him more 
closely to her, murmuring endearments and pressing her 
body down the whole length of his. 

When he finally rose and bent to smooth back her 
hair and finally kiss her eyes and her mouth good night, 
she reached out and turned on the light. 

'Look at me,' she said, 'and let me look at you.' 

He knelt beside her. 

She examined every line of his face as if she were 
seeing him for the first time. Then she reached up and 
put an arm round his neck. Her deep blue -eyes were 
swimming with tears as she drew his head slowly to- 
wards her and kissed him gently on the lips. Then she let 
him go and turned off the light. 

'Good night, my dearest love, ' she said. 

Bond bent and kissed her. He tasted the tears on her 
cheek. . 

He Went to the door and looked back. 

'Sleep well, my darling,' he said. 'Don't worry, 
everything's all right now. ' 

He closed the door softly and walked to his room with ' 
a full heart. 


The Bleeding Heart 

The patron brought him the letter in the 

He burst into Bond's room, holding the envelope in 
front of him as if it were on fire. 

'There has been a terrible accident. Madame — ' 

Bond hurled himself out of bed and through the 
bathroom, but the communicating door was locked. He 
dashed back and through his room and down the 
corridor past a shrinking, terrified maid. 

Vesper's door was open. The sunlight through the 
shutters lit up the room. Only her black hair showed 
aboye the sheet, and her body under the bedclothes was 
straight and moulded like a stone effigy on a tomb. 

Bond fell on his knees beside her and drew back the 

She was asleep. She must be. Her 'eyes were closed. 
There was no change in the dear face. She was just as 
she would look, and yet, and yet she was so still — no 




movement, no pulse, no breath. That was it. There was 
no breath. 

Later the patron came and touched him on the 
shoulder. He pointed at the empty glass on the table 
beside her. There were white dregs in the bottom of it. It 
stood beside her book and her cigarettes and matches 
and the small pathetic litter of her mirror and lipstick 
and handkerchief. And on the floor the empty bottle of 
sleeping-pills, the pills Bond had seen in the bathroom 
that first evening. 

Bond rose to his feet and shook himself. The patron 
was still holding out the letter towards him. He took it. 

'Please notify the Commissaire,' said Bond. 'I will be 
in my roW when he wants me. ' 

He walked blindly away without a backward glance. 

He sat on the edge of his bed and gazed out of the 
window at the peaceful sea. Then he stared dully at the 
. envelope. It was addressed simply in a large round 
hand, 'Pour Lui.' 

The thought passed through Bond's mind that she 
must have left orders to be called early, so that he would 
not be the one to find her. , 

He turned the envelope over. Not long ago her warm 
tongue had sealed the flap. 

He gave a sudden shrug and opened it. 

It was not long. After the first few words he read it 
quickly, the breath coming harshly through his nostrils. 

Then he threw it down on the bed as if it had been a 

My darling James [the letter opened], 

I love you with all my heart, and while you read 
these words I hope you still love me because, now, 
. with these words, this is the last moment that your 
love will last. So goodbye, my sweet love, while we 
still love each other. Goodbye, my darling. 
I am an agent of the M. W.D. Yes, I am a 


double agent for the Russians. I was taken on a 
year after the war, and I have worked for them 
ever since. I was in love with a Pole in the R.A.F. 
Until you, I still was. You can find out who he 
was. He had two D.S.O.'s, and after the war he 
was trained by M. and dropped back into Poland. 
They caught him, and by torturing him they found 
out a lot and also about me. They came after me 
and told me he could live if I would work for 
them. He knew nothing of this, but he was 
allowed 'to write to me. The letter arrived on the 
fifteenth of each month. I found I couldn't stop. I 
couldn't bear the idea of a fifteenth coming round 
without his letter. It would mean that I had killed 
him. I tried to give them as little as possible. You 
must believe me about this. Then it came to you. I 
told, them you had been given this job. at Royale, 
what your cover was, and so on. That is why they 
knew about you before you arrived, and why they 
had time to put the microphones in. They sus- 
pected Le Chiffre, but they didn't know what your 
assignment was except that it was something to do 
with him. That was all I told them. 

Then I was told not to stand behind you in the 
Casino, and to see that neither Mathis nor Leiter 
did. That was why the gunman was nearly able to 
shoot you. Then I had to stage that kidnapping. 
You may have wondered why I was so quiet in the 
night club. They didn't hurt me because I was 
working for M.W.D. 

But. when I found out what had been done to 
you, even though it was Le Chiffre who did it and 
he turned out to be a traitor, I decided I couldn't 
go on. By that time I had begun to fall in love with 
you. They wanted me to find out things from you 
while you were recovering, but I refused. I was 
controlled from Paris. I had to ring up an In- 
valides number twice a day. They threatened me; 



and finally they withdrew my control, and I knew 
my lover in Poland would have to die. But they 
were afraid I would talk, I suppose, and I got a 
final warning that SMERSH would come for me if I 
didn't obey them. I took no notice, I was in love 
with you. Then I saw the man with the black patch 
in the Splendide, and I found he had been making 
inquiries about my movements. This was the day 
before we came down here. I hoped I could shake 
him off. I decided that we would have an affair 
and I Would escape to South America from Le 
Havre. I hoped I would have a baby of yours and 
be able to start again somewhere. But they 
followed us. You can't get away from them. 

I knew it would be the end of our love if I told 
you. I realized that I could either wait to be killed 
by Smersh and perhaps get you killed too, or I 
could kill myself. 

There it is, my darling love. You can't stop me 
calling you that or saying that I love you. I am 
taking that with me, and the memories of you. 

I can't tell yoU much to help you. The Paris 
number was Invalides 55200. I never met any of 
them in London. Everything was done through an 
accommodation address, a news-agent's at 450 
Charing Cross Place. 

At our first dinner together you talked about 
that man in Yugoslavia who was found guilty of 
treason. He said: 'I was carried away by the gale 
of the world.' That's my only excuse. That, and 
for love of the man whose life I tried to save. 

It's late now and I'm tired, and you're just 
through two doors. But I've got to be brave. You 
might save my life, but I couldn't bear the look in 
your dear eyes. 

My love, my love. 




Bond threw the letter down. Mechanically he brushed 
his fingers together. Suddenly he banged his temples 
with his fists and stood up. For a moment he looked out 
towards the quiet sea, then he cursed aloud, One harsh 

His eyes were wet, and he dried them. 

He pulled on a shirt and trousers, and with a set cold 
face he walked down and shut himself in the telephone- 

While he was getting through to London, he calmly 
reviewed the facts of Vesper's letter. They all fitted. The 
little shadows and question marks of the past four 
weeks, which his instinct had noted but his mind re- 
jected, all stood out now like signposts. 

He saw her now only as a spy. Their love and his grief 
were relegated to the boxroom of his mind. Later, 
perhaps they would be dragged out, dispassionately 
examined, and then bitterly thrust back with other sen- 
timental baggage he would rather forget. Now he could 
only think of her treachery to the Service and to her 
country, and of the damage it had done. His 
professional mind was completely absorbed with the 
consequences — the covers which must have been blown 
over the years, the codes which the enemy must have 
broken, the secrets which must have leaked from the 
centre of the very section devoted to penetrating the 
Soviet Union. 

It was ghastly. God knew how the mess would be 
cleared up. 

He ground his teeth. Suddenly Mathis's words came 
back to him: 'There are plenty of really black targets 
around,' and, earlier, 'What about SMERSH? I don't like 
the idea of these chaps running around France killing 
anyone they feel has been a traitor to their precious 
political system.' 

Bond grinned bitterly to himself. 

How soon Mathis had been proved right, and how 

Y/'.'--;- '- : ' >i --" ••' ' THE BLEEDING HEART" . 179 - 

soon his own little sophistries had been exploded in his 

While he, Bond, had been playing Red Indians 
through the years (yes, Le Chiffre's description was per- 
fectly accurate), the real enemy had been working 
quietly, coldly, without heroics, right there at his elbow. 

He suddenly had a vision of Vesper walking down a 
corridor with documents in her hand. On a tray. They 
just got it on a tray while the cool secret agent with a 
Double O number was gallivanting round the 
world— playing Red Indians. 

His fingernails dug into the palms of his hands, and 
his body sweated with shame. 

Well, it was not too late. Here was a target for him, 
right to hand. He would take on SMERSH and hunt it 
down* Without smersh, without this cold weapon of 
death and revenge, the M.W.D. would be just another 
bunch of civil servant spies, no better and no worse than 
any of the western services. • . ■ , 

SMERSH was the spur. Be faithful, spy well, or you 
die. Inevitably and without any question, you will be 
hunted down and killed. 

It was the same with the whole Russian machine. Fear 
was the impulse. For them it was always safer to ad-' 
Vance than to retreat. Advance against the enemy, and 
the bullet might miss you. Retreat, evade, betray, and 
the bullet would never miss.- 

But now he would attack the arm that held the whip 
and the gun. The business of espionage could be left to 
the white-collar boys. They could spy and catch the 
spies. He would go after the threat behind the spies, the 
threat that made them spy. 

The telephone rang, and Bond snatched up the 

He was on to 'the Link,' the outside liaison officer 
who was the only man in London he might telephone 
from abroad. Then only in dire necessity. 



He spoke quietly into the receiver. 

'This is 007 speaking. This is- an open. line. It's an 
emergency. Can you hear me? . . . Pass this on at once: 
3030 was a double, working for Redland. . . . 

'Yes, dammit, I said "was. " The bitch is dead now. ' 


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